August is all about Italian wines at Taylor’s. Italy is the largest wine producer on the planet (or tied with France, or 2nd behind France, depending on who’s counting and the vintage) and is certainly one of our favorite “go to” wine regions for food friendly vino and all month long every Italian wine is on sale.
A Few Featured Wines from Italy:
Bidoli 2015 Pinot Grigio $10.99
A staple since The Haw River Wine Man, JIm Stock first found this little, family owned winery on a trip to Italy and began importing their wines directly to North Carolina 20 years ago. Since then it has remained one of the best Pinot Grigio values around. It always amazes us when people come in and say they don’t like Pinot Grigio because it’s too sweet because they’ve only tried mass produced versions from grocery stores and pizza joints. Good Pinot Grigio is crisp and refreshing with lime citrus, tart apple and refreshing acidity, which is exactly what Bidoli delivers.
Casa Contini 2013 Brindisi Riserva – Taylor’s: $14.99
Brindisi is one of the small DOCs located within Puglia, the heel of Italy’s boot. The brutish, dark skinned Negromaro grape makes this region’s best wines and that is true here with Casa Contini’s Riserva bottling. The Botter family tames the Negroamaro beast with small amounts of Malvasia Nera and Sangiovese along with liberal amounts of lavish oak. Intense and persistent notes of red fruits: blueberry, blackberry, black cherry and pomegranate, accompanied by the variety’s typical spicy notes and smooth creamy oak on the finish.
Cacciata 2010 Toscana – Taylor’s: $21.99
This IGT Toscana wine has been a favorite for a couple of vintages now, but the perfect 2010 vintage in Tuscan has yielded something really special. A blend of 85% Sangiovese and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, it has subtle and elegant fruits, with notes of black plum, dried cherry, dried unsweetened cranberry, and blackberry, finishing long, fresh and bright, with subtle fruits that tail off to subtle dried flower petals and a hint of brown spice.
Alois Lageder 2014 Porer Pinot Grigio $27.99
A similar conundrum to mystery mentioned above is why so many people think the mass produced stuff with a name that sounds like a Mexican cocktail is the best around. We assume that it is because it’s on just about every chain restaurant list and is usually the most expensive one on the list. Ask any wine critic or expert who their top 5 Pinot Grigio producers are and Lageder will always be there. Lageder makes a number of fantastic white wines from northern Italy, not just Pinot Grigio, but his Porer Pinot Grigio never fails to please, and for the same price as that other stuff, it’s way more complex. Seeing a short time in oak, it adds layers of spice and a fuller bodied texture you don’t see in most Pinot Grigios along with notes of lime citrus, pear, and stonefruit backed by vibrant minerality and acidity.