The Masi Valpolicella Classico Bonacosta is inexpensive Italian red wine that delivers quality and value
The Wine Curmudgeon has a long history with Valpolicella, an Italian red wine made with the corvina grape. My father drank the Bolla version, and I used to try and impress young women by ordering it in restaurants.
The truth, though, is that Valpolicella is usually very ordinary, soft and boring, and not even much of a value. So I didn’t expect much from the Masi Valpolicella Classico Bonacosta.
Proving, once again, that you should taste the wine before you judge it. The Masi Valpolicella ($13, sample, 12%) was a revelation – a Valpolicella that is fresh and light and still tastes like Valpolicella. Even more amazing is the price, which is about two-thirds of what you need to pay for something similar in taste and quality.
Look for cherry aromas, plus red berries with some baking spices, Italian-style acidity, and soft tannins. In this, it has structure and body, which makes one of the reviews on Cellar Tracker (the blog’s unofficial wine database app) so ironic. The reviewer complained the wine wasn’t heavy enough, which misses the point. It’s not supposed to be.
Pair this with your Mom’s spaghetti and meatballs, which is what my Dad did with his Bolla. Highly recommended.
The Allegrini La Grola is an Italian red wine that resonates of terroir
One day, the Wine Curmudgeon will understand why the Italians feel the need to make wine in the style of other countries. Because wines like the Allegrini La Grola show what a fine job they do when they stick to Italy.
The Allegrini La Grola ($35, sample, 13.9%) is Valpolicella – the cheap wine of so many Baby Boomer youths – taken to a level that most Boomers never thought about. It’s made mostly with the corvina grape, which can be soft and boring, the kind of wine you buy because it’s cheap and easy to drink. The La Grola, though, is less fruity – leaner and sharper and has more character as befitting its price and the effort that went into making it. Look for sour cherries, an almost almond and licorice flavor, and dry tannins.
This Allegrini La Grola should age for another eight or 10 years, but is ready to drink now. Pair it with a more formal Mother’s Day brunch, particularly lamb — or, for the adventurous, roast salmon.
Reviews of wines that don ?t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the final Friday of each month.
?Reinhold Haart Riesling 2014 ($35, sample, 7%): Gorgeous, honeyed white wine with sweet lemon fruit — and not the fake Sweet Tart kind common these days — that reminds you how wonderful German riesling can be. This is sweet wine the way it should be, made to be a sweet riesling instead of just being made to be sweet.
?Piccini Memoro Rosso 2014 ($12, sample, 14%): Very ordinary Italian red blend of no particular interest, with that ashy middle that often shows up when too much winemaking is going on. The poorly done oak overshadows too soft red fruit.
? Tenuta Sant’Antonio Corvina 2013 ($10, purchased 13%): One review of this Italian red made with the corvina grape (usually used as for blending) says it has tropical fruit, an interesting way to describe a red wine. Another way is flabby and soft, without any freshness or acidity. Very disappointing given the quality of the producer.