Pronounce the name of this pretty Umbrian village as most Americans do - "a sissy" - and the puns become almost inevitable. Let's not even go there today. The Italian Trade Commission's Website, ItalianMade.com, takes a much more elevated view of the wines of the region:
"Two antithetical records characterize Assisi: It is, on one hand, one of the most important spiritual centers of Christianity thanks to Saint Francis of Assisi and, on the other, it is a center of culinary pleasures par excellence. It is sufficient here to taste a bottle of great Assisi wine to suddenly realize how thin the line is that separates spirit from matter."
The regional DOC regulations for Assisi Rosso call for 50% to 70% Sangiovese, 10% to 30% Merlot and up to 40% of "other local red varieties." Sportoletti's rendition, according to the importer's Website, apparently pushes the limits of the regulation in the direction of an "international" style with as little Sangiovese (50%) and as much Merlot (40%) as they can get away with; the remaining 10% is Cabernet. The wine also spends four months in French oak.
Sportoletti 2002 Assisi Rosso ($17.49)
This is a very dark blackish-purple wine with a garnet edge. There's lots going on in the aroma - cherry-berry fruit with subtle herbal notes, undertones of smoke and raw beef, and a hint of the high-toned volatile acidity that's commonplace in Italian reds. Juicy and fresh on the palate, forward black fruit is nicely structured by mouth-watering acidity and a pleasant touch of bitterness in the finish. Excellent food wine. U.S. importer: Winebow Inc., NYC; Leonardo Locascio Selection. (May 4, 2006)
FOOD MATCH: Fresh local lamb chops pan-seared with garlic and fresh rosemary make a perfect match; any grilled red meat or poultry should be fine, and pasta with a tangy tomato-based marinara should suit as well for a meatless option.
VALUE: I'd like to see this closer to the lower teens, but can't really quibble about the price for a wine of this quality, particularly against the strong Euro.
WHEN TO DRINK: The Sangiovese and Merlot blend ought to hold it in the cellar for a couple of years, but I don't see it improving. Drink soon, while it's still fresh. Note also that this 2002, though still available at local retail, is two years behind the current release.
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
TALK ABOUT WINE ONLINE:
For more advanced wine-enthusiast discussions on this or any wine-related subject, you're welcome in our non-commercial WineLovers Discussion Group, where today's article is featured at this link:
To contact me by E-mail, write email@example.com. I'll respond personally to the extent that time and volume permit.
PRINT OUT TODAY'S ARTICLE
Winebuys.com: Italian Wine Sale ends Monday!
Your first order SHIPS FedEx for FREE!
Perfect for Mom!
See All Italian Wine - ON SALE NOW!
Browse Wine Under $15
Shop New Arrivals
All wines always up to 50% off
To subscribe or unsubscribe from The 30 Second Wine Advisor, change your E-mail address, or for any other administrative matters, please use the individualized hotlink found at the end of your E-mail edition. If this is not practical, contact me by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, including the exact E-mail address that you used when you subscribed, so I can find your record.
We do not use our E-mail list for any other purpose and will never give or sell your name or E-mail address to anyone. I welcome feedback, suggestions, and ideas for future columns. To contact me, please send E-mail to email@example.com
All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.
Friday, May 5, 2006