Bill’s Best Bets – March 5th CELLIER Preview

The Riches of Italy – Part One
by Bill Zacharkiw

Bill Zacharkiw

Bill Zacharkiw

Italy is the focus of the next CELLIER magazine release and I must congratulate the SAQ for having put together a really good selection of wines. Of the 30 wines which will be put on sale in stores either March 5th or March 19th, I found the large majority to be highly recommendable. Normally at a tasting such as this, if I can find 10 of 30 that stoke me, then that’s pretty good.

And to add to the fun the vast majority of the wines are in the $20-$30 range making them very accessibly priced. What do you want? Nebbiolo? Aglianico? Grecanico? You might as well go for all of them. I have lots to recommend, so let’s get right to it.

These are the wines that I really loved from the March 5th group, and I’ll post Part Two in time for the March 19th release. (Please note that you won’t see any store inventory until the release date, but you can still plan ahead!)

Bill’s Best Bets from March 5th

While Dolcetto is considered by many as a secondary grape in Piedmont, or even third after nebbiolo and barbera, in Dogliani it can produce some exceptional wines. The 2011 Chionetti San Luigi is a great example of the complexity that can arise from the grape – and at under $20, a great deal as well.

On a similar style is Pelissero’s 2012 Langhe nebbiolo. Made with younger vines, this offers up a great introduction to the nebbiolo grape at a fraction of the price of a Barolo or Barbaresco. Delicate aromatics and fine tannins await.

Chionetti San Luigi Dogliani 2011Pelissero Langhe Nebbiolo 2012Andrea Oberto Barolo 2010

But if you want the real taste of Barolo, traditionally grown and made, then try the 2010 from Andrea Oberto. Very elegant and ready to drink wine and at $42, nicely priced.

On the opposite end of the flavour spectrum is the 2013 Thesys Isola dei Nuraghi from Pala. This Sardinian winery’s blend of old vine bovale with syrah is a meaty and richly flavoured red that is absolutely unique and will do honour to any red meat. And at $20, a great deal.

One of my favourite Italian grapes is aglianico and the 2011 Rubrato from Feudi di San Gregorio is a “Tootsie Roll” of intensity. Tightly wound, full of dark fruits and tannin. Got a T-Bone? This is your wine.

Pala Thesys Isola Dei Nuraghi 2013Rubrato Aglianico Feudi Di San Gregorio 2011Fattoria Viticcio Beatrice Gran Selezione Chianti Classico 2011Bianco Maggiore Cantine Rallo 2012

In Chianti, there is a new style and category of wine called Gran Selezione. Most examples I have tasted are simply too concentrated and oak ridden for my tastes and essentially kill the subtle qualities of the sangiovese grape. While they can be impressive, the wines tend to speak more about the winemaking than the terroir. But Fattoria Viticcio’s 2011 Beatrice is an extraordinary wine which highlights the fruit and earthy components of the sangiovese grape without overpowering it with oak. Really good.

White wine fans have an option as well with the 2012 Bianco Maggiore from Cantine Rallo. This organically grown wine made with the grillo grape is low alcohol, full of tropical fruit, and a perfect aperitif.

Introducing the CELLIER Premium Feature

Cellier New ArrivalsFor Chacun son Vin Premium members, we have added something new to the site to make your CELLIER shopping even easier. Now if you look under the Wine tab in the menu bar, you will see an option for <CELLIER New Arrivals>.

Click there, or the links below, and you will land on a new page where we have grouped all of the new release wines and reviews together by date.

So you can check out my tasting notes on all the wines in one place.



“There’s enjoyment to be had of a glass of wine without making it a fetish.” – Frank Prial

From CELLIER March 5, 2015:

Bill’s Best Bets
All March 5th Reviews

Editors Note: You can find Bill’s complete reviews by clicking on any of the highlighted wine names or bottle images above. Premium subscribers to Chacun son Vin see all critic reviews immediately. Non-paid members wait 60 days to see newly posted reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great wines!

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