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Nov 6, 2007 01:13 PM

Italian wine varietals

Most of the italian wines I've tried (monetpulciano, chanti) are fairly light bodied. Can anyone recommend something that will be a bit more robust, say tantamount to a Spanish Tempranillo or a Cabernet?

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  1. Try a really good Barolo, or an Amarone one of my favorites....expensive, but good. Another is Migliore, a super Tuscan red that will definately put the light bodied ones to shame. Don't rule out Chianti, a good one is quite full bodied, often the body of the wine is not necessarily due to the type of grape, but in the amount of it in the production. Cheaper wines are often just that, a few more $'s for the same type may be very full-bodied.

    1 Reply
    1. re: winemaker

      I second the suggestion to try Amarone. This is a not-oft seen wine, but one that is full in body, and flavors. Most are OK young, but give a great one some years, and you have a monster of a wine.


    2. Aglianico
      Brunello di Montalcino
      Nero d'Avola

      8 Replies
      1. re: Husky

        From Sardinia: Cannonau [grenache] (Sella and Mosca has a good, well-priced riserva) or Monica, for some Spanish family resemblance. From Puglia, of course,a Primitivo or Negroamaro (Salice Salentino), Umbria, a Sagrantino di Montefalco, and from Marche, a Rosso Conero (montepulciano-sangiovese blend). Don't rule out better grade Montepulciano d'Abruzzo--say, a Riparossa from Illuminati.

        1. re: obob96

          Under no circumstances is Sella & Mosca Cannonau Riserva on a par with a highly-extracted Cab or Shiraz. Monica, on the other hand, would be a great choice for the OP.

          I don't know about other Cannonaus, but the Sella & Mosca I tried was quite thin.

          1. re: ttriche

            Since the OP did not specify level of extraction or price or even mention a shiraz, I think the Sella and Mosca Cannonau--at least what I've drunk--is a decent match in feel and fruit for a mid-range cab and certainly a tempranillo that's not one of the new fruit bombs. But maybe that's what the OP is in search of.

            1. re: obob96

              Tempranillo -- maybe a thin Rioja. Maybe. But I have never tasted a Cab that was as thin and sharp as the Cannonau Riserva. Perhaps I got a bad bottle?!?

              The OP noted that they felt Chianti was not full-bodied. I suppose there is a pretty major difference between a Chianti Classico Riserva and a run-of-the-mill DOC Chianti, but I would put the body of the Cannonau I drank on a par with a regular Chianti, maybe a light version of a CCR. Thus I can't imagine it would present much of a contrast to the OP in terms of body. Your mileage may vary... but that's what the bottle I drank offered up, and I was not impressed.

              Whereas, the Monica (I tried a bottle from Argiolas, I think) struck me as a perfect contrast to relatively thin wines such as those the OP listed. Again -- YMMV.

          2. re: obob96

            Montepulciano d'Abruzzo sure... but for something more along the lines of what the op is looking for (if I understand right) and if you stick w/Montepulciano, I suggest a Vino Nobile de Montepulciano imho. However most of these wines mentioned are not varietals (all one type of grape)

            One interesting and very off beat verietal is mayolet, a hearty grape grown in some of the most norhthern parts of Italy.

            For price/quality ratio, a chianti Classico reserva or a Brunello sound good to me, neither are varietal though.

            1. re: McJ

              I'm not sure the OP was committed to a single varietal--and Vino Nobile is, like Chianti Classico, sangiovese based.

              1. re: obob96

                Vino Nobile is made from a different type of Sangiovese than that used to make Chianti or Chianti Classico. It's called Prugnolo Gentile, quite different in flavor.

                Another type of Sangiovese is Brunello, dramatically different in flavor from Chianti or Chianti Classico, and more powerful.

                Both of these subtypes have colloquially been called Sangiovese Grosso to differentiate them from the Sangiovese Piccolo used to make Chianti or any of the Chianti DOCGs.

                1. re: maria lorraine

                  I'm not about the clones generating so dramatically different flavors by themselves, but whatever familt differences, the varietal sure isn't montepulciano.

        2. Barolo
          Umbria - not sure the name of the varietals but have had a few good wines from that region
          Saccahsia - my fav

          1. Something that I've found to be big, Italian and fairly widely available is Travaglini Gattinara. It comes in an oddly shaped bottle and is dying for stews, roasted meats, roasted potatoes with rosemary and other things "winter". It is made from the Nebbiolo grape. It will set you back about $20.

            1. Chianti Classico RISERVA
              The Super-Tuscans -- almost always Cabernet or Merlot-dominant
              Barolo -- a big beefy boy, must be properly aged

              By the way, these are the names of wines, not the varietals (grapes).

              7 Replies
              1. re: maria lorraine

                "By the way, these are the names of wines, not the varietals (grapes)."

                True, except in the case of Lagrein and Refosco...

                1. re: Husky

                  Try these...

                  -Taurasi has an intense ruby color, which with age tends to show garnet hues and/or amber reflections. Tasting notes may include hints of cherry, wild berries, tobacco, liquorice, oak, tar, and black pepper. It’s best served with red meat, wild game, and mature cheeses, such as caciocavallo (provolone) or parmigiano.

                  -Aglianico is dense ruby red, sometimes with violet hues. Toasted almonds, wild berries, nutmeg, plum, spicy cloves are some of the aromas and flavors that may come to mind when drinking this ancient varietal. The aromas and flavors always depend on the location and the wine producer’s vision. Great with pasta, white and red meat, soups, and antipasti.

                  1. re: Campania

                    Taurasi is primarily Aglianico. Is that what you were getting at?

                    1. re: ttriche

                      Taurasi is aged aglianico in barrique for at least 12-18 mos and do up to 6 mos in the bottle. In order to be called Taurasi, it has to be cultivated, aged and bottle in a certain area surrounding the town of Taurasi. It is DOCG. 2001 and 2005 have been recent wonders!

                      1. re: Campania

                        I noticed that Feudi di San Gregorio made a blend of Aglianico and Piedirosso in 2001 (and more recently perhaps?) by the name of Serpico. Given the outrageously tannic and sometimes austere habits of Aglianico, it struck me as a fine idea to combine the two (not unlike taking the best qualities of Nero d'Avola and Frappato in Cerasuolo di Vittoria, except that Serpico doesn't have its own DOCG like Cerasuolo). Any thoughts on this departure from tradition?

                        It seems to me that I'll be looking for an older bottle if I want to catch Taurasi at its best.

                        1. re: ttriche

                          Although blending (aglianico + piedirosso, other varietals) have always been allowed in the disciplinare for Taurasi, Feudi appears to use aglianico in purezza for its 2 Taurasi and for the "super-Taurasi" non-DOCG Serpico. It's not always easy to know when a winery decides to use these blending options.

                  2. re: Husky

                    You're right, Husky. Thanks for the clarification.