Italian Red

Poderi Aldo Conterno, 2010 Barbera d’Alba, Conca Tre Pile, Italy

This modern offering shows old world aromas of subtle campfire, smoked meats and ripe strawberry that are surrounded by new world nuances of sweet vanilla cookie dough. This is a medium to full-bodied red with the salacious disposition of a Renaissance princess with a faulty lock on her chastity belt. It features extremely ripe flavors of cherry and strawberry, complimented by a tangy touch of spice. 250 cases imported. $35 – $39.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

Poderi Aldo Conterno, 2009 Barolo, Italy

This Barolo displayed so much sweet leather aroma that it reminded me of the time my wife dragged me into a Coach pocket book store, but at $73 a bottle it was considerably less expensive. The leather aromas combine with scents of ripe strawberries and flowery notes that carry over to the palate. It’s delightfully floral, with ripe, spicy black cherry flavors. Echoes of sweet leather linger in a finish that also displays some tea-like tannin notes. 350 cases imported. $73.

Rating: 4 Stars (4 / 5)

Poderi Aldo Conterno, 2009 Barolo Cicala, Italy

Pretty lavender scents combine with sweet spice and subtle hints of vanilla in the nose. The Cicala is framed by rigid tannins that make Dick Cheney seem soft by comparison. With enough air the wine reveals licorice, charcoal and ripe plummy strawberry, but it needs time for the tannins to integrate. 300 six packs imported. $140.

Rating: 4 Stars (4 / 5)

Poderi Aldo Conterno, 2009 Barolo Colonnello, Italy

The Colonnello is a softer, richer version of the Cicala. It features similar spice, floral, licorice and ripe strawberry traits, but with a fuller mouth feel that manages to be both luscious and powerful, like J.Lo’s tookus (hence the higher rating). Cellar the Cicala while you’re enjoying the Colonnello, but don’t rush into either of these too soon. 300 six packs imported. $140.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

Poderi Aldo Conterno, 2005 Barolo Granbussia, Italy

What a delight to breathe in. Pretty flower garden scents combine with strawberry, subtle cherry kirsch, and licorice aromas. Flavors of strawberry are carried on a bed of refined tannins that give the texture a silkiness that persists on the long finish. 300 six packs imported. $375.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

Poderi Aldo Conterno, 2009 Langhe Rosso, Italy

I tasted this wine under different conditions and have combined my notes to show how the wine tastes A) when first opened, B) after breathing, and C) after a year has passed. Depending on the conditions, this wine features aromas of A) dark plummy fruits, violets and faint tar, B) smoky roasted meats, or C) strawberry pudding (which I’ve never actually smelled, but if I did it I’m sure it would smell just like this wine). In the mouth this wine was uniformly full, dark and lusciously fruity, with silky tannins that glide over your palate. Under conditions A and B) the fruit flavors leaned towards blackberry and subtle ripe boysenberry followed by faint mineral notes of clay or graphite. C) A year later the fruits reminded me of ripe Maraschino cherries or spicy cherry compote. Under condition D) (all of the above) the wine was a delight to drink and a good value to boot. (I think I remember this question from my SAT’s.) 400 cases imported. $26 – $29

Rating: 3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

Soluve, 2010 Chianti Classico Riserva, Italy

To handle extra production, the highly rated winery Viticcio, bottles wine under the Soluve label. These wines straddle the fence between old world and new. Traditional delicate strawberry aromas and flavors combine with darker, sweet plum and black cherry characteristics. This is a medium-bodied Sangiovese, but it carries itself like a middleweight boxer wrapped in a thick velvet robe. $19 – $22.

Rating: 3 Stars (3 / 5)