2015 La Rasina, Brunello di Montalcino, $55
Winery Info: This Tuscan estate is located on the slopes of the hilltop town of Montalcino, home of one of Italy’s most prestigious wines, Brunello di Montalcino.
The property was acquired in the 1970s by Santi Mantengoli, but it was his son Vasco who saw the potential of crafting wine on the farm and, after purchasing the land from his father, began producing wine in the late 1980s. Santi’s grandson Marco has been at the helm since 1997. He has 45 hectares of land, of which 11 are vineyards, with vines ranging in age from two to 30 years in age. He farms organically, using natural yeasts and minimal sulfur in order to produce the most elegant and accessible Brunellos possible.
Grapes: 100% Sangiovese Grosso. Aged 24 months in oak casks.
Vineyard: Sourced from their estate vineyards in Montalcino.
Flavor Profile: You could think of this wine as more like an Italian Cabernet—very smooth and approachable, without the massive fruit attack or tannins of some of the more old school Brunellos. It is deep and well structured with balanced flavors and nice notes of earthy fruit and spice.
Availability: This wine is still in good supply.
Drinking Window: Enjoy, with decanting, anytime from 2023 to 2025.
Food Pairing: You could pair it with red meat, roasts (perhaps rack of lamb), or game dishes, or with salumi and hard aged cheeses. Or perhaps a portobello mushroom risotto. (Our rep said it was fabulous with a homemade pizza with bacon and onions.)
2019 Pietradolce, “Archineri” Etna Bianco, $45
Winery Info: Pietradolce was established in 2005 in the district around the Sicilian hill town of Castiglione di Sicilia. Today they have over 11 hectares of vines high on the eastern slopes of Mt. Etna where they grow exclusively grapes indigenous to the Mt. Etna region. They are known for producing wines with great concentration and purity and a strong sense of terroir.
Grapes: 100% Carricante from pre-phylloxera bush vines up to 120 years old, hand harvested and aged in stainless steel. Carricante is an indigenous white grape grown almost exclusively on the volcanic slopes of Mt. Etna and known for its excellent acidity and complex aromatics.
Vineyard: Sourced from a single vineyard situated about 2,700 feet above sea level, with volcanic, stony, sandy loam soil.
Flavor Profile: It is a rich wine, well structured and elegant, with pretty aromas of white fruit, citrus, and herbs. It has lovely texture and great minerality, expressive of the stony volcanic soil.
Availability: 4,000 bottles produced. There is still a bit left of this wine.
Drinking Window: Enjoy over the next three years.
Food Pairing: Try it with grilled fish, such as swordfish or red snapper, or grilled vegetables. It would also go well with shellfish ceviche, fresh ricotta with grilled bread, or, echoing the volcanic soil, with ashed cheeses such as Sottocenere Al Tartufo or Humboldt Fog.