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By Michael Dresser | January 24, 2007
This Italian red is a real overachiever when it comes to quality in this price range. It's a medium-bodied blend of Tuscany's traditional sangiovese grape and the merlot of Bordeaux. In this case the combination works, with the merlot adding softness and lushness to the spice and structure of the sangiovese. It offers well-rounded black cherry fruit and hints of Mediterranean herbs, with good acidity and liveliness. In addition, it's versatile and ready to drink. Serve with pasta, roast chicken, red meat.
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By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | September 4, 2012
This medium- to full-bodied regional Tuscan red wine - a 90-10 percent blend of the great Italian variety sangiovese and merlot - punches well above its price class. Made by the well-respected house of Antinori, offers penetrating black cherry fruit and hints of chocolate, herbs and earthiness. It's a smooth, complete wine that isn't that far from the level of some very pricey "super-Tuscan" proprietary wines. And where many of those wines are tannic beasts that require years to tame them, this wine is ready to drink now. From: Toscana, Italy Price: $12 Serve with: Pasta, grilled meats
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NEWS
By Michael Dresser and Michael Dresser,SUN WINE CRITIC | August 7, 2002
NAPA VALLEY, Calif. - Benessere Vineyards is located smack in the middle of the northern Napa Valley - one of the world's prime spots for growing $50-plus cabernet sauvignons. So what did John and Ellen Benish decide to specialize in when they bought the former Charles Shaw winery and vineyards in 1994? Sangiovese - the prime red-wine grape of Italy's Tuscany region but an uneven performer in California. "The world didn't need another cabernet," says Benesserre winemaker Christopher Dearden.
EXPLORE
By Lisa Aireythewinekey@aol.com | May 26, 2011
Italian wines have long lost their wicker basket/drip candle image. They are not synonymous with "cheap" whether talking price or quality. The best of the best hold their own within the global wine market in prestige and excellence and by so doing have removed the glass ceiling for other Italian producers who wish to climb the price/quality ladder. This shift goes part and parcel with the changing image of Italian cuisine in this country. Italian restaurants are not just slinging spaghetti onto red-checkered table cloths.
FEATURES
By Michael Dresser | February 14, 1996
The world needs good jug wines, and here's a fine example from Italy. Fossi is a fine Chianti producer, and as you would expect, this nonvintage wine tastes much like a junior Chianti. The black cherry and spice flavor of the sangiovese grape comes through in a light, easily quaffable form. It's a good choice for a casual party where simple pasta dishes are served.
NEWS
By [Michael Dresser] | December 12, 2007
2004 Villa Antinori Rosso Toscana IGT From: Tuscany, Italy Price: $23 Serve with: Roast veal, pork or turkey This proprietary red wine from Antinori combines sangiovese from Chianti Classico with the French varieties merlot, syrah and cabernet sauvignon from the prestigious Bolgheri subregion. The result is a supple but brilliantly structured wine that can be drunk now or spend a decade in the cellar. It's a subtle wine, by no means a blockbuster, with pure and penetrating flavors of black cherry, herbs and vanilla.
FEATURES
By Michael Dresser | September 21, 1997
1994 Monte Antico Red Tuscan Table Wine ($10).This finely crafted Italian red goes far beyond its modest legal designation to equal the finest examples of Rosso di Montalcino. Made from the classic Tuscan grape sangiovese, the Monte Antico displays amazing complexity for its price range. It's a medium- to full-bodied wine with expressive flavors of black cherry, herbs, tropical spices and smoked meat. This is a wine that begs to be served with grilled food. It has the structure to last a couple of years but will never be better than now. A terrific selection by importer Neil Empson.
FEATURES
By Michael Dresser | July 20, 1997
1994 Montevina Sangiovese, Amador County ($11).This intensely flavorful red wine is made from the most famous grape of Italy's Tuscany region -- a variety that is destined to become one of the most important in California during the next century. (You might as well learn to pronounce it: Sahn-gee-oh-VAY-zee.) This moderately priced rendition shows off the bright cherry and herb flavors of the grape in a medium-bodied style that virtually demands that it be served with grilled food.Pub Date: 7/20/97
FEATURES
By Michael Dresser | July 19, 2000
1997 Monterra Merlot. Monterey County ($10). This extraordinary value is the jewel of a stunning line of budget-priced wines from the Delicato Monterey winery, which expects to be doing a big rollout of its Monterra line this summer. It's a huge, ripe merlot with forceful black cherry and chocolate flavor. Behind the chunkiness is an impressive structure, suggesting a better-than-average potential for aging. Based on other tastings, it appears merlot's future in Monterey is as bright as anywhere in California.
EXPLORE
By Lisa Aireythewinekey@aol.com | May 26, 2011
Italian wines have long lost their wicker basket/drip candle image. They are not synonymous with "cheap" whether talking price or quality. The best of the best hold their own within the global wine market in prestige and excellence and by so doing have removed the glass ceiling for other Italian producers who wish to climb the price/quality ladder. This shift goes part and parcel with the changing image of Italian cuisine in this country. Italian restaurants are not just slinging spaghetti onto red-checkered table cloths.
NEWS
By [Michael Dresser] | December 12, 2007
2004 Villa Antinori Rosso Toscana IGT From: Tuscany, Italy Price: $23 Serve with: Roast veal, pork or turkey This proprietary red wine from Antinori combines sangiovese from Chianti Classico with the French varieties merlot, syrah and cabernet sauvignon from the prestigious Bolgheri subregion. The result is a supple but brilliantly structured wine that can be drunk now or spend a decade in the cellar. It's a subtle wine, by no means a blockbuster, with pure and penetrating flavors of black cherry, herbs and vanilla.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser | January 24, 2007
This Italian red is a real overachiever when it comes to quality in this price range. It's a medium-bodied blend of Tuscany's traditional sangiovese grape and the merlot of Bordeaux. In this case the combination works, with the merlot adding softness and lushness to the spice and structure of the sangiovese. It offers well-rounded black cherry fruit and hints of Mediterranean herbs, with good acidity and liveliness. In addition, it's versatile and ready to drink. Serve with pasta, roast chicken, red meat.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser and Michael Dresser,SUN WINE CRITIC | August 7, 2002
NAPA VALLEY, Calif. - Benessere Vineyards is located smack in the middle of the northern Napa Valley - one of the world's prime spots for growing $50-plus cabernet sauvignons. So what did John and Ellen Benish decide to specialize in when they bought the former Charles Shaw winery and vineyards in 1994? Sangiovese - the prime red-wine grape of Italy's Tuscany region but an uneven performer in California. "The world didn't need another cabernet," says Benesserre winemaker Christopher Dearden.
FEATURES
By Michael Dresser | July 19, 2000
1997 Monterra Merlot. Monterey County ($10). This extraordinary value is the jewel of a stunning line of budget-priced wines from the Delicato Monterey winery, which expects to be doing a big rollout of its Monterra line this summer. It's a huge, ripe merlot with forceful black cherry and chocolate flavor. Behind the chunkiness is an impressive structure, suggesting a better-than-average potential for aging. Based on other tastings, it appears merlot's future in Monterey is as bright as anywhere in California.
FEATURES
By Michael Dresser | September 21, 1997
1994 Monte Antico Red Tuscan Table Wine ($10).This finely crafted Italian red goes far beyond its modest legal designation to equal the finest examples of Rosso di Montalcino. Made from the classic Tuscan grape sangiovese, the Monte Antico displays amazing complexity for its price range. It's a medium- to full-bodied wine with expressive flavors of black cherry, herbs, tropical spices and smoked meat. This is a wine that begs to be served with grilled food. It has the structure to last a couple of years but will never be better than now. A terrific selection by importer Neil Empson.
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