Author:  M.A. de la Mata


1992 Lugana "Vigne Molin", D.O.C.G. A wine well worth its vineyard name. This is the older brother (or sister, depending on your gender preference for wine) of the Agricola Lugana 1991 which is so popular in our area. This wine has a little more wood ageing, 6 months to be exact, and quite a nice feel in the palate, with lots of up-front fruit and ripe apple and cinnamon in the finish. Just b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l-l, great by itself or just about any dish.

1992 Montresor Pinot Grigio, Verona, Italy. This is an excellent example of Pinot Grigio. It is well balanced, elegant and fruity, with a nice pleasant finish. Best with pastas, fowl, and shellfish.

1992 Gavi, Ugo Chiola, Piemonte. This is not a new wine, but is so good that I had to bring it up. We just re-stocked this wine since we finally found some more. It is deep and complex with a lingering finish of anise, caraway seed and a touch of mint. Delicious drinking for the hot Summer, even on a retiree's salary! Match it with salmon, sofrito de pescado, Clam chowder, Pesto, Bocaccia.

1993 Pinot Grigio, Montresor, Verona. This is perhaps the best Pinot Grigio in our local market. It is even better than the 1992 release, a difficult challenge to overcome. It is complex and full, with finesse and excellent fruity character. Best paired with Fettucine Romano, calamari, asparagus salad, grilled pike, and yes!... shrimp Jambolaya!

1993 Gavi, Stefano Farina, Piemonte,. This is another affordable Piemonte wine. It is floral and nutty with refreshing feel in the palate. This wine will match best fish, pastas and Greek style grilled chicken.

1993 Sauvignon bianco "Zuc di Volpe", Passini, Friuli. A single vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, with vibrant flavors and refreshing acidity. It is concentrated and lasting, offering spicy flavors of mint, caraway seed, fennel and nispero fruit. Try it with soft shell crab or lobster.

1995 Pinot Grigio, Borgo della Rose, Friuli, Grave ($12.99)**.  100% Pinot Grigio, no wood aging.  A fine example of high quality and affordable price.  Granted, there are many $8.99 Pinot Grigios, and even lower, as well as one crazy flier at $18.99.  Go ahead, try them all.  However, and justifiably placed in the mid-range, this Pinot Grigio offers fruit, lively acidity, WEIGHT, TEXTURE, AND FINISH!!!  Recommended with hearty bisque, pastas and seafood.


1989 Sangiovese, Carmignano,  Italia ($??).  75% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon,  10% Canaiolo.  Unknown wood aging period. Closed-in nose.  Decent palate with fragrant and syrupy notes lingering in the finish.  Recommended.  Best with pork and pasta.

1989 Barolo, Steffano Farina, D.O.C.G. Perhaps one of the greatest Barolo values I have ever seen. Unfortunately, whatever is on the stores' shelves and restaurants' lists is all there is left of this vintage.

1989 Barbaresco "Terlo Ravera" Vineyard, Enrico Abbona, Piemonte. Another powerful Piemonte red from Abbona. Heavily extracted and rich, with high acidity and moderate tannin (so wait a few years before uncorking the second bottle). Still evolving and allowing some of those typical Italian/Piemonte flavors and aromas to emanate from the glass. Gracious nutmeg and almond together with earthy/gammy flavors and finish give you a full palate with every sip. If you must try it now…try it with grilled lamb chops, or rack of lamb and a generous side of sesame asparagus.

1990 Barolo, Piemonte, Steffano Farina. An affordable Barolo that you can enjoy now. It is a classic Piemonte wine with velvety tannins and very good Nebbiolo character. It is smooth and refined with an elegant cherry finish. Best with lamb, roasts, pork.

1990 Barolo, Enrico Abbona, Piemonte. The only thoughts that come to mind when I think about this wine are POWERFUL!! and CELLARING. It is young and massive with tannins to boot. Also, it is concentrated, complex and bountiful with licorice, tobacco and black fruit flavors. Cellar for 5 years (at least!).

1990 Chianti Classico Riserva, Le Bocce, Toscana. This is a big, chewy, full, rich and smooth Chianti. It is deceivingly soft in the palate because it seems so approachable, but taste it next to the above named Barolos and you will see what I mean. No wonder it made the cover of the Wine Molestator. Drink it (guzzle it!) with red sauce pastas, spiced meats, sausages, foods with sun dried tomatoes, veal a la parmesana.

1991 Nebbiolo D'Alba, Steffano Farina, D.O.C.G. Quite nice, medium-light in body and tons of lively fruit, jammy, and a medium length finish that makes it ideal for summer drinking.

1991 Cabernet Sauvignon, Il Rosso di E. Vallania, Bologna. It offered the classic walnut flavor of Italian wines. However, I can’t recommend this wine. It seemed simple and with a whole in the mid palate. For the price, I would expect a bit more, actually, a lot more.

1992 Chianti Classico, Aziano, Chianti Classico ($NA). Light and flavorful, very little nose, tight tannin, meager fruit in the palate with a bit of a walnut flavor in the finish. Seamless and alcoholic.

1992 Dolcetto D'Alba, Stefano Farina, Piemonte. A very nicely made wine depicting its origins and the Dolcetto character well. Indeed, this interesting and full of fruit Piemonte wine, is one that you can enjoy now while the Enrico Abbona wines in your cellar become ready. The finish is medium in length and full of fruit with light oak vanilla flavors. Ideal with pastas, pizza, proscuito and cantaloupe, bocaccia and calzone.

1993 Merlot, Villa Volpe Passini, Friuli. This is an spicy, full-bodied Merlot from Italy's Friuli region. All I can say is that IT DELIVERS! Try it with red sauce pasta (make sure that you include plenty of red meat in the sauce).

1993 Cabernet Sauvignon, Magnificat, Vino di Tavola ($49.99).  100% Cabernet Sauvignon, unknown wood aging period.  This is one powerful Italian red.  Deeply colored, with an interesting aroma , not unlike a good Sangiovese (actually my first guess of grape after taking a quick whiff).  This wine has potent tannin and weight, excellent long finish.  It is rich and close to balanced.  It just needs aging, 12-14 years at least.  Highly recommended.

1994 Dolcetto di Dogliani "Papa Celso" Vineyard, Enrico Abbona, Piemonte. Every wine that I have tasted from this producer, Barolo, Barbaresco, Nebbiolo and Dolcetto have the same character stamp. Big, extracted, concentrated and made for the long haul. Abbona produces some tremendous wines and at ridiculously low prices. This Dolcetto style is fuller and more complex-age worthy than the popular, easy-selling/easy-drinking Dolcetto D’Alba. Obviously, this wine is for people that want a little more wine for their buck and can demand a little more concentration from their wines. I tried a glass of this wine approximately four days after I opened the bottle and it seemed to get even better. Abbona’s trade mark is single vineyard wines with full body and packed with fruit and classic Italian flavors that would perfectly compliment Italian dishes, heavy on the garlic, olive oil, tomato, parsley, oregano and basil. Try this one with roasted lamb, orzo pasta and lamb, game meats such as deer or elk.