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K&L Staff Recommendations
Giovanni Blason and his wife Valentina are young producers who continuously surprise us with the price-to-quality ratio of their wines, earning them tons of kudos in Gambero Rosso and beyond. They come from the Isonzo region of Northern Italy, right up against the Slovenian border. Their Pinot Grigio is really sensational, full in the mouth, rich on the palate and extraordinarily drinkable at this price! Very aromatic, with good complexity, length and that subtle elegance that shows muscle and a long and flowing finish.
Giovanni Blason and his wife Valentina are young producers who continuously surprise us with the price-to-quality ratio of their wines, earning them tons of kudos in Gambero Rosso and beyond. They come from the Isonzo region of Northern Italy, right up against the Slovenian border.
91 points James Suckling: "I like the lively and zesty character to this white with green apple and lemon undertones. Full body, loads of fruit, yet firm and focused. Go-to Gavi." (10/2015) Wine & Spirits: "Tart lemon and yellow apple flavors mingle with lightly bitter notes in a round, oily texture. Serve this with a seafood stew." (12/2015) Wine Spectator: "A mix of pear, apple, lemon and earth notes, backed by touches of earth and mineral. Offers a clean, chalky finish." (11/2015)
This Tuscan Vermentino comes from the Colli di Luni which is right at the Ligurian border. The wine was fermented on the skins for 48 hours and has a simply stunning character. Loads of nascent fruit are wrapped around a core of mineral salts, spice and producing a palate feel that is absolutrely scintillating. A long finish that is so expressive, I really think this wine is fantastic.
Gallura is a peninsula on the northeast corner of the island of Sardinia that specializes in Vermentino (the grape is also grown on the coast of mainland Italy, on Corsica and in the south of France under the name Rolle). Mancini's version of the grape is very fresh and forward, with no oak or malolactic fermentation aromas, just grape juice fermented at low temperature in stainless steel. Enjoy this delicious, lively and aromatic white as an aperitif or with seafood (prawns with pasta?). A hint of citrus peel on the finish adds food-friendly complexity.
Vietti's Roero Arneis is one of the most delicious and consistent versions of this varietal we carry every vintage. The grapes for this wine come from 25-year-old vines in Santo Stefano Roero. Fermented in stainless, they suppress malo to preserve the crisp acidity and freshness. And it is fresh, with mineral accents that complement its floral, citrus and melon aromas and flavors. Delightful with food.
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Made with organically farmed grapes, this delicious white opens with aromas of citrus blossom and white stone fruit. The tangy, medium-bodied palate offers a lovely depth of flavors that include juicy tangerine, lime, white peach, bitter almond and mineral. Crisp acidity brightens the rich flavors and carries through to the clean finish. (KO)" (7/2016)
96 points James Suckling: "This is the full treatment white from Italy and it always delivers. Aromas of cooked apple, cream, hints of toasted oak and peach. Full body, bright acidity, with tangy fresh fruit. Hints of yogurt and wood. Complex and truly great. Love the backbone of acidity that gives lovely form." (3/2016) 91 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* There's density to this minerally white, with flavors of kumquat, white cherry, graphite, chamomile and ground anise framed by rapierlike acidity that creates a sleek, almost lean impression on the zesty finish. Like a young Chablis, this should develop ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Honeysuckle and Honeycrisp apple flavors are layered with juicy acidity in this zesty, light-bodied white. (AN)" (10/2016)
Two-thirds of wine production in Alto Adige is controlled by cooperatives, and Erste e Neue is an old cooperative dating back to the year 1900 in the Caldara area. Hundreds of growers' grapes find their way to Erste e Neue to produce quality wines from their sub-alpine terroir near the Mediterranean's Adriatic Sea. From Erste e Neue: "The Pinot Grigio is graced with lovely purity in its clean, focused fruit. There is a wonderful warmth that radiates through the wine even if this remains a fresh, mineral-driven style of Pinot Grigio."
Wine Enthusiast: "Alluring aromas of jasmine and wild flower lead the nose. The fresh palate offers mature apple, white peach and a citrusy note alongside bright acidity. A touch of white almond note fills in the finish. (KO)" (7/2016) K&L Notes: This full bodied white made from 100% Cortese is fresh and fruity with scents of white flowers and a pleasantly though quite dry palate. Rich and balanced, this elegant white is soft and round, but somehow structured; it is well-matched to fish and fowl dishes. The 25 hectare Carmelitani estate was planted in the fourteenth century by the Car... Read More »
A light straw yellow with greenish highlights in color, the wine shows a fruity nose with notes of citrus fruit, peaches, and pineapples. The structure and the acidity balance one another and the finish and aftertaste are lively and persistent. This Orvieto is a blend of 50% Grechetto, 25% Procanico, 25% Pinot Blanc and Viognier.
Antonio Galloni writes: "Year after year, Almondo is one of the very finest producers in Roero, a part of Piedmont where consistency is hard to come by."
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The delicious 2013 Fiano di Avellino shows excellent mineral definition and sweet layers of exotic fruit. This is a complete package and a beautiful portrait of the Fiano grape. The wine lasts long on the palate with creamy texture and balanced fruit flavors. It shows an impressive level of intensity and elegance. This white wine should continue to evolve with age. Mauro and Adele Sarno run the boutique Tenuta Sarno 1860 estate in Avellino. They make a single wine, a Fiano di Avellino, that sees fruit harvested from a high density vineyard planted 630 me ...Read More »
A sauvignon and Timorasso blend, this wine is fermented in stainless steel for a few months before bottling. A classic expression of Monferrato.
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Best of 2016* Made with 70% Carricante and 30% Catarratto, this elegantly structured wine has enticing aromas of Mediterranean herb, fragrant yellow flower, citrus and a whiff of acacia. The fresh, savory palate shows juicy lime, ripe pear, chopped herb and mineral alongside tangy acidity. The lingering finish closes crisp and clean. (KO)" (8/2016)
Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* Fresh and savory, this offers aromas and flavors of fresh apple, green Anjou pear and almond. Bright acidity gives it a crisp, clean finish while a hint of saline signals the close. (KO)" (7/2016) K&L Notes: This very special white is made exclusively with Verdicchio grapes cultivated from the east slopes of the Alta Valle Esina, on the foot of the Mount San Vicino. As is typical for Matelica, this is elegant, fresh and very mineral, and just the thing for your most elaborate fish dishes.
Ravello, carved into the hillsides overlooking the Mediterranean on Italy's Amalfi Coast, is one of my favorite places on earth. Maybe it's because it is where my husband and I honeymooned, but honestly I was in love with Ravello before I ever set foot there, and that goes back to this wine. Made from 60% Falanghina and 40% Biancolella grown in the rocky, calcareous soils of both Ravello and Scala, this slightly floral, wonderfully mineral, fresh white wine tastes like the crystalline blue sea and sunshine captured in a bottle. It is particularly delicio... Read More »
In case you are like most folks out there, and you have no idea what Kerner is, here's a little background: Kerner is a relatively new grape (developed in the 1960s) and is a cross between Riesling and the local red grape Schiava. Though something of a mongrel in terms of ancestry, in the right hands, such as those of the very capable people at Cantina Valle Isarco, it produces a full-bodied, un-oaked wine full of vibrant fruits, ethereal floral highlights and aging potential. A strong, spicy wine to enjoy with charcuterie and sausages or sashimi!
90 points James Suckling: "Fresh and lively Pinot Grigio with sliced apple and pear character, medium body, and plenty of nice fruit." (11/2016)
Frascati doesn't have the best reputation--it's often the innocuous white wine served as "house wine" across Rome--but this one from Casale Marchese transcends any preconceived notions. Made from Malvasia del Lazio, Trebbiano Toscano, Malvasia di Candia, Bonvino and Bellone grown on family farms in the Tusculo hills and brought to us by one of our favorite Italian importers, Oliver McCrum (it's how you KNOW it's going to be good), this is fresh and delightful. Notes of basil complement peach and nectarine with a slight almond underpinning. It's fresh, ea... Read More »
Impressive for its purity and refreshing mineral qualities, Valle dell'Acate takes the Insolia varietal to a whole new level of quality. As a second label, the Case Ibidini range (pronounced 'bidini) consists of varietally labeled wines from the estate intended for more casual consumption. The local name of the area where the estate is situated, Bidini, is drawn from the ancient root Bidis. This in turn referred to the name of a group of early Hellenic settlers who populated the area nearly 20 centuries ago. These wines provide a purity and authenticity ... Read More »
92 points Wine & Spirits: "Fruit for Mirum hangs on 30-year-old vines into the latter half of October, imparting a golden color and densely concentrated flavors of yellow apple, Asian pear and dried thyme. Notes of blanched almonds and spearmint emerge with air, the rich flavors and creamy texture balanced by notes of lemon zest and prickly sea-salt that vibrate on the palate. Match its intensity of flavor to linguini with clams in a rich garlic broth." (8/2016) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "With a little time in the glass, this eventually reveals subtle aromas of toasted almond, pressed yellow flower, beeswax a ...Read More »
91 points Vinous: "A wine of precision and nuance, the 2015 Terlaner Classico once again shows why this is one of Alto Adige's most compelling and delicious wines. The Pinot Blanc/Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc blend that has worked so well here for decades yields a white endowed with striking focus. White flowers, lemon peel, ripe orchard fruit, apricot pit, almond, mint and chamomile form a super-appealing fabric of aromas, flavors and textures. There is a lot to like here. The Terlano has a level of precision that none of these varieties show on their own. Then again, that ...Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "What a wonderful white with white pepper, sliced apple, lemon, and mineral character. Full to medium body, bright acidity, and a flavorful finish. Love the spice to this. This is an exciting new wine for me. Drink now." (10/2016) K&L Notes: This is an amazing wine, the first vintage ever from the Treves family who's been growing grapes for generations in Val d'Aosta who have decided to make wine from their own grapes, a whopping 280 cases. Petite Arvine is one of the local many indigenous grape varieties in Val d'Aosta, which is nestled in a tiny valley in the Alps c... Read More »
Italy known for good, large co-operative wineries. (A few good co-ops exist in other regions, but not lots of them in one region.) This top-notch wine comes from the co-op Erste + Neue, which is right in the center of Caldaro, one of the small towns on the "Wine Road" south of Bolzano. They make the range of white wines that you would expect, Sauvignon, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris (and an excellent Müller Thurgau). Gerhard Sanin, the enologist for E+N, favors a bright, restrained winemaking style that really allows this place and these varieties to shine.
Tre Campane means 'three bells,' signifying the three communes of Lugana where the grapes for this cuvee are grown. The estate vineyards are all in the historic part of the Lugana appellation, in the communes of Pozzolengo, Sirmione e Peschiera, no more than half a mile from Lake Garda. The vines used here are older, an average of around 30-35 years of age. Alessandro harvests the grapes in two parts, 50% in mid-September and the remainder in mid-October at full ripening, allowing him to make a wine with excellent fresh acidity and added body and complex... Read More »
91 points Vinous: "Pale straw. Perfumed fresh yellow apple, minty herbs, orange peel and flowers. Rich and dense but with lovely floral lift providing clarity and cut on the long, penetrating finish. Very refined, with a hint of mineral underpinning at the back. (ID)" (10/2016)
This family-run estate is farmed with no pesticides and harvested by hand in the heart of Tuscany. This white is complex and refreshing, with bright fruit and herbal notes. A great wine for scallops.
94 points Vinous: "Bright, dark golden-yellow color. Very intense aromas of ripe yellow apple, pear, chamomile and white flowers. Rich, dense and juicy, with orchard fruit and botanical herb flavors complicated by a savory element. Finishes long and almost creamy (despite 6.4 grams per liter of total acidity, expressed as tartaric), with hints of lime and custard cream. Undoubtedly, this rather richly styled Vorberg will remind many drinkers of a wine made from Chardonnay. This vintage is especially successful in the context of the very difficult growing season, which was ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Aged in cement vats, Edi Keber's 2014 Collio is a pristine blend of 70% Friulano, 15% Ribolla Gialla and 15% Malvasia Istriana. The wine follows a local winemaking philosophy that sees structure thanks to Friulano, acidity thanks to Ribolla Gialla and fragrance from the Malvasia. Edi Keber dedicates most of his effort to this one wine. Beautiful tones of yellow rose and honey segue to creamy persistence. (ML)" (5/2016) 90 points Wine Enthusiast: "A blend of 70% Friulano, 15% Ribolla Gialla and 15% Malvasia, this is perfumed with scents suggesting yellow flower, apple, citrus fruit an ...Read More »
The largest producer of Verdicchio di Matelica DOC wines, Belisario has been making wines in the Marche region of Italy since 1971.
Christian Kerschbaumer is a young winemaker and proprietor of Weingut Garlider in Alto Adige's Eisack Valley. English wine writer and critic Stuart Pigott writes: "His white wines are of a very special class... The Grüner Veltliner is also dynamic, yet more athletic and stress-laden, the aromas come from the glass: with wonderfully ripe, yellow fruits, but also cool, slightly iodine spice, which unfolds with every sip. Almost as if a primordial sea were breeding against the alpine pastures! When the vines grow older and this wine gets a bit more deep, a ... Read More »
What makes this DOC of Matelica so special is its geographical position and geological character. This is an inland north-south valley, the only one in the Apennines that blocks the flow of warm coastal air, giving the region more of a continental climate. La Monacesca’s vineyards sit at about 1,800 feet above sea level in what was an ancient salt lake. The marine soil is full of fossils and rich in minerals that add to the wines’ vibrancy and aging ability. The nights are cool and the days are warm all summer long, allowing the grapes to remain on the v... Read More »
90 points Vinous: "Pale straw. Easygoing aromas and flavors of lemon, apple and fresh white flowers complicated by a delicate hint of ginger. Bright and juicy, offering noteworthy lift and a strong saline slant to the juicy, long back end. Sneaky concentration here. (ID)" (12/2016)
I met Dino and Patrizia Torti, a dynamic Father-Daughter winemaking team, at their winery in the hills of Oltrepo Pavese about 45 miles south of Milano. Pinot Noir or Pinot Nero in Italian has been used in Lombardia in the making of methode champenoise sparkling wines dating back into the 19th century, but only recently has there been a movement for the production of red wines. That might seem an odd introduction for a white wine but this one is made from red grapes! Pinot Noir vinified white (no skin contact), but wow what flavor! Bold, penetrating Pino... Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "Aged on the lees for four months. Unexpectedly scented with tea-leaf aromas. Reasonably pretty." (5/2016) Wine Enthusiast: "Lovely floral scents of black locust flower, orange blossom and a whiff of aromatic herb float out of the glass. The round but elegantly structured palate offers white peach, white currant, sage and mineral. Soft acidity lifts the creamy flavors." (7/2016)
We've heard it a number of times, even from people knowledgeable about wine, that the wines of Lazio are really nothing special, just simple quaffers. Well, Giampiero Bea's collaboration with the Sisters at Monastero Suore, a Cistercian monastery in Vitorchiana, 90 minutes north of Rome, produces one of the finest Italian wines we've ever tasted and it's from Lazio.
In the northern, alpine region of Trentino-Alto Adige Italy, German and Italian mix not only in place names, but also grape varieties. Kerner is a relatively new grape (developed in the 1960s) that is a cross between Riesling and the local red grape Schiava. Though something of a mongrel in terms of ancestry, in the right hands, such as those of the very capable people at Cantina Valle Isarco, it produces a full-bodied, un-oaked wine full of vibrant fruits, ethereal floral highlights and aging potential. A strong, spicy wine to enjoy with charcuterie and... Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "The nose on this sauvignon is reserved with white peaches, daisies, mint and some apple skin. The palate is balanced with compact yellow fruit flavors but lots of depth and a persistent textured finish." (11/2016) 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Winkl is one of my absolute favorite Italian white wines and the current vintage is even better than most. The 2015 Alto Adige Sauvignon Winkl is a soft and creamy expression with loads of aromatic definition and depth. The bouquet peels back to reveal thick layers of stone fruit, acacia honey, toasted almond, wild sage and crushed mineral. Think ...Read More »
Winemaker notes: "The pre-eminent growing area for the arneis grape is the Roero, the area of magnificent hills on the left bank of the Tanaro river. Here, the calcareo-siliceous soils encourage the development of perfumed, elegant wines. After a gentle pressing, the must is given a cultured-yeast fermentation for some 10 days at 16-18°C. A final crucial step is a brief maturation in the bottle to further improve the structure of the wine and the complexity of its bouquet. Colour: Deep straw yellow with greenish highlights. Bouquet: Generous, crisp, and... Read More »
Praise from Ian D'Agata: "The third and fourth generations of the Di Meo family are propelling this estate into the stratosphere of Italian wine production. Along with wines from Mustilli and Contrada Salandra, there are no better Falanghina bottlings made anywhere than these. Following a stint with world-famous consulting enologist Roberto Cipresso, Vincenzo Di Meo is the winemaker here. The estate vineyards are situated in the particularly sandy Campi Flegrei production zone, which seems especially well suited to Falanghina, of which there are at least... Read More »
About the producer: "The farm of Elvio Tintero is located in the steep but extraordinary hills of the City of Mango (CN) in Gramella place. Tintero’s family handle with care land and grapevine just on these hills since three generations. At the moment Tintero’s Farm is lead by Marco, Elvio, Adriana."
This is white wine for a red wine drinker. There is so much concentration and depth of flavor, intensity, complexity, and downright deliciousness here, you'll have a hard time ever sipping on a light quaffing white wine ever again. Made from 100% Timorasso, a rare Piedmontese varietal grown in the Tortonesi hills near the Lombardy border, this wine's richness comes from extended skin and lees aging. Though not quite an orange wine, this can stand up to more substantial fare than your typical white.
Erste e Neue is a highly revered co-op located high up in the Mediterranean Alps in the Alto Adige region of Northeast Italy, where it is famous for producing racy, refreshing, and mineral-driven white wines from the varietals that thrive there. A cross of Riesling and Madeleine Royale, Muller-Thurgau is one of the more widely planted cross-bred varieties in Germany, possessing Riesling's hardiness and intense fruit but with the genes for earlier ripening. This is a fragrant, fruity wine, with soft floral and citrus aromas and flavors, accented by hints ... Read More »
Ciro Picariello is a producer of outstanding white wines from Campania. While his emphasis is on Fiano, "a few years ago he started making Greco from a rented vineyard, a vineyard that he is now intending to buy," writes importer Oliver McCrum. "The soil is a sandy clay of volcanic origin called tuff, or 'tufo' in Italian (but the name of the appellation refers not to the soil, but to the village of Tufo, which is not far from Avellino). Picariello's Greco is made similarly to his Fiano...Ciro tells me that Greco can age like Fiano; given that he started... Read More »
94 points Vinous: "Bright dark yellow-gold. Enticing aromas of ripe peach, lime, ginger, custard cream, spring flowers and minerals. Dense, smooth and rich, offering precise, strong flavors of ripe stone fruit, raisin, caramelized fig and crème brûlée. Quite perfumed in the mouth, and nicely balanced; the long finish displays a seamless quality and remarkable freshness for such a big, concentrated wine." (11/2014) K&L Notes: About the producer: "Among vines and rocks rising vertically over the sea of Furore, we find Cantine Marisa Cuomo. The grapes that grow here, clinging to the rocks... Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "Fine and firm on the nose. Hugely ambitious. For the moment it’s all structure. Real polish and mineral density. Bone-dry finish. This all comes from the grape!" (1/2016)