We recently picked up business with a new distributor and I am excited to slowly start exploring their repertoire of wines, particularly because of their unique assortment of Italian wines from even the tiniest of wine producing regions. I actually just got done reading someone else’s blog post on how he thinks that the wine of a particular region seems to echo the cultural tastes and food staples. I think that’s why I love Italian wine so much….they seem to mirror the flavors of the heartier, rustic cuisine. So when I tasted the 2007 Leonetti “Le Olle” Bardolino Classico D.O.C.G. I was so intrigued and excited. This wine stayed with me in my mind for weeks afterwards – and when you taste the variety of wines that I do, I think this says a lot.

The second wine we picked up is this delicious and totally unusual Portuguese blend that is Syrah based ( I know, right? Syrah….from Portugal?).  The price point at $9.99 makes this an absolute no brainer. Plus I loved the quirky birds on the label:)

2007 Leonetti “Le Olle” Bardollino Classico D.O.C.G.

I had to read up a bit on this wine – it is from the Bardolino region, where the vineyards sit hillside to the beautiful Lake Garda in Northern Italy. It is predominantly made up of Corvina and Rondinella along with I believe a little Cabernet Sauvignon. It is full bodied, dry, with ripe fruit and the most interesting notes of rosemary and thyme on the palate. And of course there is some of that classic sort of raisiny flavor that I thoroughly enjoy in Italian wines.  A wonderful food wine – I would love to serve this with some sort of rosemary encrusted roast, or with some sort of rich beef stew. definitely one that will be served at our dinner table during this holiday season.

2009 Ciconia

This is one of those wines that you taste and then someone tells you the price, and you have to taste it again to make sure your memory is serving you correctly. A Syrah based blend, incorporating two other Portuguese varietals – Touriga Nacional and Aragones, which may make people shy away because they are a bit less known, however they make up for it with the blaring orange label and fun design. The wine is BIG. Rich, dark fruit, some toasty oak characteristics, nice and round on the palate. I actually recommend giving this one a day to open up – but if you are serving it that evening, just open it up for an hour or decant. It gets better and better with each glass and will be a repeat purchase for those that love BIG bang for your buck in regards to red wine.