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Wine Review: Tariffs aside, enjoy the influx of Italian wines

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Could the current influx of Italian wines be in anticipation of the tariff increases recently instituted by our government? If so, then there are many terrific wines of Italian origin now appearing in restaurants and on dealer’s shelves.

Italian wines have been around for a very long time. Some producers have been in business and in the hands of the same family since the 14th century. If they have hung on for so long, they must produce quality wines.

Below are some fine Italian wines that are here and available now.

Argiano 2015 Non Confunditur ($23)
My Italian is pretty good, but for the life of me I could not translate this name. Non means no or not, but no what? Confunditur had me completely baffled. But baffled or not, this is a choice wine. [Editor’s note: Argiano.net describes the term as unique or unmistakable; a more literal translation of “non confunditur” is “not to be confused.”]

On a historical note, the Argiano winemaking estate has been around for a long time, having been founded in 1580. It’s one of the oldest wineries in Tuscany, the ancestral home of great red wines. Made from a blend of cabernet sauvignon, sangiovese and merlot grapes grown during the exceptional 2015 vintage year, this wine is another impressive Italian beverage. The aroma and flavor are a fruit basket of red summer berries that are tagged with the traditional Tuscan earthy and mineral background.

Renato Ratti 2016 Barbera D’Asti ($20)
The fruit for this wine originated in the red grape capital of Italy, the Asti region of Tuscany. The wine has a dark ruby color and the aroma of raspberries, truffles, blackberries and spice. The flavor showcases berries with a splendid cloud of oak in the background. The wonderful thing about this wine is there are no sharp sensations of acid or tannin, which are held in balance with the fruit. While it is customary to serve this wine with hearty meats, I found it definitely does justice to grilled tuna or shark, as well as red sauce pasta dishes.

Pieropan 2016 Soave Classico ($20)
Soave (pronounced swah-vay) is the favorite white wine in the canal city of Venice, as well as most of northeastern Italy. It is a dry white wine that complements salads, seafood and the white sauce style of cuisine in the district. This soave has a soft fruity aroma accented by peaches and citrus that carries over to the flavor, but not in exceptional amounts. The flavor is quiet and subdued and does not interfere with accompanying foods. This is a grand second choice of wine if you have become bored with chardonnay and sauvignon blanc.

Jermann 2016 Pinot Grigio ($30)
It is not hard to find a pinot grigio selling for under $10, so I suggest you buy that great bargain. But if you truly enjoy a great and memorable wine, I suggest you try the Jermann 2016 Pinot Grigio so you can experience the differences between wines from the same variety. The experience is comparable to one’s first ride in a high-end luxury automobile. You also will witness the difference between a California pinot grigio and its great grandfather. Not that one is better than the other, but rather, they differ in many ways and one must remember that California wines are tailored to the American palate. There is indefinable Old World opulence about this wine that must be appreciated in order to be understood.

Wine columnist Bennet Bodenstein can be reached at frojhe1@att.net.

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