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The Dozen - Arrivals from Northern Italy

I like to think of wines from northern Italy as stalwarts of the wine trade – always dependable, sometimes spectacular and generally good values for the category.

We have six in this Dozen, mostly reds from the Sangiovese grape, but also a Nebbiolo and a Pinot Grigio.

2019 MAN Coastal Region Chenin Blanc ($9). From South Africa – food friendly, with lively, fragrant green grapey fruit with some apple notes.

2017 Matua Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($12). Quite enjoyable – well-balanced and medium-bodied with both fleshy and tart green fruit.

2019 Cliff Lede Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($25). The label describes it as “voluptuous,” and that it is, with a combo of soft fragrances, lime-like backbone, a savory note and an almost-creamy finish.

2017 Livio Felluga Collio Pinot Grigio ($25). A rounder, less-crisp Grigio with fragrant, juicy peach and citrus flavors.

2016 Pio Cesare “Piodilei” Langhe Chardonnay ($49). A good food wine – minerally with apple skin flavors, medium weight and a crisp finish.

2018 Cono Sur Chile Cabernet Sauvignon/Carménère/Syrah ($12). Some green notes mixed in with the blackberry flavors, some dusty tannins, a little earthiness.

2015 Frescobaldi Castello di Nipozzano “Vecchie Viti” Chianti Rufina Reserva ($31). A very mellow Chianti with light tannins and old barrel flavors.

2017 Umberto Cesari “Liano” Rubicone Sangiovese-Cabernet Sauvignon ($32). Dark purple fruit with lots of woody, vanilla flavors in finish.

2018 The Prisoner “Eternally Silenced” California Pinot Noir ($49). Lots of stuffing – dark cherries, earthy notes, savory underlay. Big, but not overpowering.

2014 Umberto Cesari “Tauleto” Sangiovese Rubicone IGT (about $50). From Emilia Romagna, an interesting mix of red and black fruit flavors, long on the palate, lots of good tannins. Decant for an hour or two.

2016 Pio Cesare Barolo ($83). Very good, on the lighter side but with a good backbone, accented by dark red fruits, tea notes and a savory finish.

2016 Mayacamas Mt. Veeder Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($136). A great example of strength and restraint in a wine with ripe berry flavors and a refreshing tartness.

Prices listed are generally SRP or from

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