You made it through to 2015! Congratulations! Now that a new year has begun, we at The Manual want to make sure you kick it off right.
With your New Year’s hangover still close in the rearview mirror, alcohol may not be the first thing on your mind, but we have three wines to recommend when you are ready to imbibe again (ie: tomorrow). All three of these Italian reds are sure to impress—whether it is your special someone, a small dinner with friends, or a gift for your boss.
First up, is the 2009 Damilano Barolo Cannubi. This wine is 100% Nebbiolo, which is an Italian grape variety primarily grown in the Piedmont region. The Nebbiolo grape is one of the earliest varietals to blossom and one of the last to ripen. The grapes are harvested in October and many claim that the Nebbiolo name originates from the Italian word for fog—nebbia. That is because when the grapes are harvested in October, there is a milky fog that settles over the berries. The Damilano Barolo is ruby red in color with an initial citrusy taste. It struck us as something to have before a meal, perhaps with antipasta—pickled artichokes, roasted red peppers, prosciutto.
Next we have the 2011 Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Immediately upon smelling this wine, you’ll notice a stronger, more pungent odor. The taste is smoky and can definitely be described as having “notes of tobacco.” This may have something to do with the fact that the wine is stored in oak for 18 months—70% of the wine in smaller barrels known as barriques and 30% in larger oak casks. Or it could be the Sangiovese grapes with their high acidity. But the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano isn’t all smokiness; it actually has a very noticeable sweet finish that makes it very pleasant to linger over—a wine that would work well with fruits and cheeses.
The last wine we want to highlight is the 2007 Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino. Like the Barolo, this wine has a bright, citrusy flavor upon first taste. However, the aroma is much warmer, much more floral. Yet, like the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, it is made of Sangiovese grapes, so there is a good deal of acidity. To us, this combination makes the Castelgiocondo Brunello an excellent wine to drink with a well-cooked steak—possibly a rib eye with the bone-in.
With these wine recommendations in mind, go out and get your 2015 off to a great start. There’s nothing like a good meal with a quality wine to set you on the right path in the New Year.