Corash Riserva 2013 – Sardegna, Italy

This wine practically jumps out of the bottle at you.  Aggressive cherries and vanilla attack the nose, backed with scents like freshly hewn wood and green orchid.  (Yes, I know what these smell like – grew up in Kentucky, where I chopped more than I wanted to, and lived in Miami for a number of years, where you might just mow over orchids in your lawn.)  Many of these same flavors repeat on the front palate, with a burst of blackberries and chewy raisins.  A little acid and leather come as it glides across the tongue, with abrupt tannins that bring the finish up tight, with a slight floral after taste.  This one’s an adventure that was magnificent with the tender richness of home-made Osso Buco.

  • Rating: Impressive
  • Name: Corash Riserva 2013
  • Winery: Cantina Della Vernaccia Oristano
  • Region: Sardegna
  • Country: Italy
  • Varietals: Cannonau
  • Price: $20
  • Where to Buy: Litteri

Brolio 2011 – Chianti, Italy

Toasted sugar and strawberry cake on the nose.  Grassy, fresh berries, with slate and cocoa on the front of the palate at first taste.  I have to admit being braced somewhat by the tannins – I did not expect them, so they seemed a bit overdone.  Almonds, marzipan, and a leathery chewiness, with a crisp, almost tart abrupt finish.  A fun ride.

  • Rating: Everyday Red
  • Name: Brolio 2011 Chianti Classico
  • Winery: Barone Ricasoli
  • Region: Chianti
  • Country: Italy
  • Varietals: Sangiovese 80%, Merlot 15%, Cabernet Sauvignon 5%
  • Price: $20

Roccamora 2013 – Nardo Rosso, Italy

The nose here is like black rubber, cherry, and roses, with a faint hint of leather.  What a start.  The front end is juicy, with red berries.  Then something happens in the mid palate – it turns velvety and smooth, making the whole mouth feel coated with velvety iodine.  Yeah, it’s different.  The leather and red fruits melt into darker, chewy dried fruits (think prunes, dates, and currant), joined by a salty minerality.  The finish carries a slight hint of sweeter amaros such as Nardini or Nonino, and a soft hit of white pepper.  Such a fascinating wine.  I picked this one up at Appellation Wine & Spirits in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan on the owner Scott’s recommendation.

  • Rating: Impressive
  • Winery: Schola Sarmenti
  • Wine: Roccamora 2013
  • Varietal: Negro Amaro
  • Region: DOC Nardo Rosso
  • Country: Italy

Langhe DOC Rosso 2013 – Piedmont, Italy

Dolcetto, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Freisa, Pinot Noir, and Albarossa. Violet and mineral notes on the nose with just a hint of autumn mustiness. Fresh cherry, plum, and florals attack the palate on the front end, rounding quickly with brief tannins and a longer greenish mineral finish. This is a bright, acidic red just right for the onset of spring. I would call it light bodied, if not for some stubborn tannins on the backend that provide some depth and backbone. With toast and goat cheese, it’s stellar and I could not imagine a better foil. I picked this one up at Calvert Woodley for $16 on Mark’s recommendation. Verdict: Everyday Red.

  • Rating: Everyday Red
  • Name: Langhe DOC Rosso 2013
  • Winery: G.D. Vajra
  • Region: Piedmont
  • Country: Italy
  • Varietals: Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, and Barbera blended with small quantities of Albarossa, Freisa and Pinot Noir
  • Price: $16
  • Where to Buy: Calvert Woodley, 4339 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008


Nirá Nero D’Avola 2012 – Sicily, Italy

img_3401Big vanilla chocolate raspberry cinnamon punch in the mouth. Sound jammy? Nope. Got the tannins to collect it all up nicely at the end of the palate. The mouth punch gives way later to familiar dark tarry notes of rubber, blackberry jam, and slate that Nero is known for. A nice, stubborn wine that gets a foothold on the palate. Believe I picked this one up at Schneider’s on the Hill for around $25.



  • Rating: Everyday Reds
  • Name: Nirá 2012
  • Winery: Terrelíade
  • Region: Sicily 
  • Country: Italy
  • Varietals: Nero D’Avola
  • Price: $25
  • Where to Buy: Schneider’s of Capitol Hill, 300 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002

Nero D’Avola Black Label 2010 – Sicily, Italy

I’ve been drinking a lot of Nero from Sicily lately, trying to get a feel for it. Cherry, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and lots of structure hit the nose. Plenty of tannin on the back end, almost too much. The high alcohol content hits the nose a bit hard at over 14% – that’s not always the case in some other boozy wines. It goes down with that nice mossy, rubbery feel of many of the Nero I’ve had. Picked this one up at Schneider’s on the Senate side. I would says it’s pretty good, but does not stand out from many of the other similar wines I’ve had and doesn’t really inspire me at the $20 price point.

  • Rating: Meh
  • Name: Nero D’Avola Black Label 2010
  • Winery: Tola
  • Region: Sicily
  • Country: Italy
  • Varietals: Nero D’Avola
  • Price: $20
  • Where to Buy: Schneider’s of Capital Hill, 300 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington, DC, 20002

Castellucci Miano Nero d’Avola 2010 – Sicily, Italy

Not crazy about this one. Tastes a bit oxidized, with black rubber, eucalyptus, and raisins all sewn up by a light tannin kick, with a hint of smoky chocolate. It isn’t poison, but I believe it’s past its prime and I won’t buy it again.

  • Rating: Meh
  • Name: Nero d’Avola 2010
  • Winery: Castellucci Miano
  • Region: Sicily
  • Country: Italy
  • Varietals: Nero d’Avola
  • Price: N/A
  • Where to Buy: N/A