Margaret Swaine’s Wine Picks: Italian reds

In this Saturday’s Vintages release, the “smart buys” collection has three Italian reds that are well priced for their pedigree.

La Pieve Barolo 2007
$28.95 (90 Points)
Italy’s wonderful Barolo wines often come with a high price tag and austere manner in need of cellaring. Not so for this beauty from a vintage known for producing svelte Barolos with sweet, alluring tannins that mix approachability with ageability. It has a firm elegance but drinks nicely now with savoury leather notes and lovely fruit and spice elements.

Fattoi Brunello di Montalcino 2006
$34.95 (92 Points)
Tuscany’s Brunello wines are majestic expressions of the sangiovese grape and rarely are available at such a good price. This has a wow bouquet — forward, earthy and intense with notes of spices, florals and fruit. Complex on the palate, it has integrated oak and earthy forest floor flavours combined with sweet spiced fruit. Structured and multi-layered, match it with meat accompanied with mushrooms.

Vicchiomaggio Ripa Delle Mandorle 2009
 $15 (89 Points)
I am particularly pleased about the release of this bargain-priced super Tuscan from winemaker John Mata’s estate. A blend of 75% sangiovese with cabernet sauvignon, it has balance and poise while delivering ripe, rich red berry flavours, subtle oak with hints of cocoa and silky tannins.