A Taster's Journey is a newsletter on food, wine and travel. After 15 years of studying, tasting, teaching, and selling wine, I created this newsletter to not only share my passion about wine, but of food and travel as well. Each month I hope to share wines that I am drinking, food that is in season, restaurants that I have enjoyed, and places I have traveled. Enjoy!"

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The Wine Cellar

April 16th, 2004

Barolo and Brunello di Montalcino are two outstanding Italian wines that are perfect for any wine cellar, but they can be a bit pricey. I recently have been buying two lower cost alternatives.

A common alternative to a Brunello is its baby sister: Rosso di Montalcino. It’s from the same region of Tuscany, using many of the same grapes. It’s, however, aged for a shorter period of time, and is lighter. I recently tasted a Rosso called Fattoria Poggio di Sotto 2000 by E&P Palmucci, and it was the best Rosso I ever had. The Brunello by this producer costs about $100, while the Rosso was $45- expensive but worth it. This was not a simple, one-dimensional wine, it was a masterpiece. Note that many of the other excellent Brunello producers also make a very good Rosso.

Bricco Manzoni 1997 is a great alternative to buying the current Barolos. Currently the Barolos from the 1999 vintage are on the shelf, and you should age these wines for 5-10 years to best enjoy them. The current Bricco Manzoni is from the 1997 vintage, and it’s drinking perfectly today. It’s a blend of nebbiolo (the grape used in Barolo) and barbera. It’s full bodied, but the barbera adds acidity to the wine, making it very approachable.

Either wine would be delicious today, but could be aged for the next 5 years.

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