Margaret Swaine’s wine picks: Charmers from Italy

Their economy may be a mess, but Italy’s wines are as terrific as ever. Find these three charmers via

Prá Soave Classico 2009
LCBO No. 74534; $17.95
Graziano Prá is a benchmark producer making 100% garganega Soave from low-yield vineyards on the best hillside sites. Rounded and silky, balanced and supple, this is top of the class. Nicely aromatic with crisp notes of lemon curd and minerals, there’s an elegant appeal throughout. Good for any time a white is needed.

Fontanafredda Briccotondo Barbera 2009
LCBO No. 72348; $15.95
From vineyards in Monferrato and Langhe, this 100% barbera grape Piedmont red is a fragrant, classy version of the varietal. Softly oaked in French barrels, it’s medium bodied with a supple texture offering tangy purple plum and Rainier cherry tastes with hints of spice. Balanced and mellow with some complexity, it’s a great food wine with multiple matches.

Tedeschi Amarone della Valpolicella 2006
LCBO No. 433417; $39.95
To me, Tedeschi wines encapsulate elegance and balance. Well crafted, this Amarone delivers good weight and concentration without losing its edge. It has tangy, layered, dark chocolate cherry flavours with notes of leather and licorice root. A pleasant bitterness cleanses the palate on the lingering finish. Excellent with strong cheeses and all kinds of meat dishes.