I love Italian wine. Even when the wines are awkward or off balance, they are always so...intriguing, intellectually satisfying. I find them more of a secret pleasure, as their quirky and unusual flavours make them hard to serve to wine 'newbies', especially when going 'off the beaten path' from Valpolicella or Chianti. We can safely call tonight's 'Biferno Rosso' an Italian off the beaten path...
The 2003 Ramitello is by Di Majo Norante, the producer of some of Italy's greatest wine values. An unsual blend of 80% Prugnolo and 20% Aglianico, this cherry red wine had a complex and multi-layered nose. Lovely scents of cherry blossom, blackberry, oak and wet stones intermingled with flinty/smokey and meaty aromas. Very well balanced, medium-bodied, with tongue-puckering dry, velvety tannins and summer berry fruit, this was a very attractive package. Not a long finish, this complex and interesting wine is ready for drinking now. Enjoyable on its own or a terrific pairing with pasta, especially tonight's veal cannelloni.
Price: C$18 (SAQ)
Note: I reviewed the 2000 Ramitello in February - the 2003 was marginally better, and very approachable considering its youth.