By Marco Giovanetti
Winter means roaring fires and the smell of freshly-baked biscotti and bread with plenty of good red wine.
Wine was built for relaxation, but there’s no getting around the fact that some wines just are not bold enough to stand up to the chill of winter.
The antidote for January cold evenings is red wine – the bolder the better. And what better country to find solace than Italy? Il Bello paese has been producing wine since the second century B.C., and it has remained a fundamental part of Italian life ever since. Italian red wine production is twice that of white wine, and each of Italy’s 20 wine regions has a culture all its own.
For immediate relief from the cold, here are three suggestions of robust Italian reds at a variety of price points.
Barone Ricasoli Chianti DOCG 2016. SAQ # 13188858, $15.70
Inviting and charming with notes of red fruit, licorice and menthol. Fresh, round and pleasant with a medium lingering finale. Unbeatable quality for under $16. Great value at a small price. Pair it with pasta al forno
Casa Vinicola Natale Verga I Balzi Nero d’Avola Bio 2017. SAQ # 13806134 $16.55
A charming nose of licorice, dry prunes and leafy blackberry fruit. Robust and spicy with flavours consistent with the nose and firm tannins. Pair it with grilled sausage and peperonata.
Montresor Amarone della Valpolicella 2015. SAQ # 240416, $34.60
Confit red fruits, stewed black prunes with bark wood licorice and dark chocolate. On the mouth, full body with floral nuances, raspberry jam and moka flavours. Balanced with a good acidity and great length. Pair with it roasted chestnuts and Parmigiano Reggiano chunks.
Cataldo Calabretta Cirò Classico Superiore 2015. $ 26.84. Private Import, Bacchus 76
This Ciro is magnificent showcasing textbook varietal aromas of musk, leather, spice and brandied cherries. Complex and earthy displaying exquisite flavours of red prune and rhubarb jam with a touch of roasted herbs. Pair it with Bucatini alla Matriciana.
$60 and up Cantomoro Tunia IGT Toscana Rosso Cabernet Sauvignon, $62.09. Private Import, Vin dans le Voiles, 6 pack case
Earthy with black fig, leafy blackcurrant, cacao and date puree undertones.On the palate, vibrant and complex with smoke and sultana raisin flavours. Structured with tight tannins. Pair with it game stews.