Dropping by with a taste of Italy

Jacopo Pandolfini. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Jacopo Pandolfini. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Jacopo Pandolfini was in Dunedin recently, showing some members of the trade the Antinori wines at Etrusco.

The Antinori family has been making wine in Italy for more than 600 years.

In his homeland, wine is usually drunk with food so the wines tend to be drier and higher in acidity, with more minerality that cuts through the fat and leaves the mouth salivating, Pandolfini said.

He showed a trio of whites - a full-bodied, minerally Santa Christina Pinot Grigio 2010 ($26) grown high on the slopes of Mt Etna in Sicily, an intense, minerally Guado al Tasso Vermentino 2011 ($39) from Bolgheri on the Tuscan coast, and a fine, intense Umbrian chardonnay, Bramito del Cervo 2011 ($36).

Antinori is probably best known here for its Chianti, red wine made from sangiovese grapes, usually with a small percentage of another variety, that comes from the Chianti area in Tuscany.

Santa Christina Chianti Superiore 2010 ($29) suggests red fruits and has a dry, fresh finish. Peppoli Chianti Classico 2009 ($37) is spicy with lively fruit and again that fresh, dry astringency that demands you eat something, and the Marchesi Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 2007 ($48) is more intense and powerful with concentrated dark fruit and a fine, dusty-dry finish.

The finest wine in the tasting was Guado al Tasso Bolgheri Superiore 2008 ($170), a classic Bordeaux blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot, aromatic with seductive fruit, elegance, power and length that is expected to be drinking at its best from 2015-28.

And to finish, a wine you could drink by itself with great pleasure, Prunotto Moscato d'Asti 2010 ($34), wonderfully perfumed, floral with a little sweetness, a light sparkle and a clean, fresh finish. It's a typical Christmas wine in Italy, according to Pandolfini, and as it's only 5% alcohol, you'd be able to enjoy it liberally.