Summer is beer season in Milwaukee, it’s true, but in spring, when the temps can fluctuate wildly, a nice glass of red wine can still warm the soul. Here are four Italian reds I’ve tasted recently that are worth scouting at fine wine purveyors in Milwaukee...
Castello di Albola Chianti Classico DOCG 2013
Retailing at about $18-20, this ruby red Chianti – 95 percent sangiovese and 5 percent canaiolo, hand-harvested, fermented on skins and aged in oak for 12 years – is playing above its price point, with an elegance you might expect from a costlier quaff. It’s got hints of violet and a smooth and satisfying mouth feel. As you start to fire up the grill for the season, pair this with a nice steak on the barbecue.
Codice Citra Caroso Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC Riserva 2010
One hundred percent Montepulciano undergoes a long maceration with the skins and spends some time in steel before aging in oak barrels and barriques. The result – which retails around $22 – is a deep red wine with garnet hues and a powerful nose with a hint of spice. Rich tannins, a blend of raspberry, cherry, spice and licorice, and a long, satisfying finish make this one a great pairing with rich meats or even with a nice tray of salumi before dinner.
Villa Gemma Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo DOC 2014
Even though it's a rose – and therefore only red-ish – this is 100 percent Montepulciano, like the Caroso, and it has a powerful bouquet. But while you might consider aging the Caroso, this one, with its rich fruitiness and floral qualities, demands your attention now. Drink it young and with darn near anything. Perfect with a cheese tray or a pizza, it’d work nicely with dessert, too. Retails around $15-20.
Kellerei Cantina S. Maddalena DOC Classico Huck am Bach 2015
Wine and Spirits rated this budget-friendly ($10-12) red wine from Italy’s German-speaking Alto Adige region a 90. It’s an easy, approachable, fruity wine with notes of cherries and almonds and medium body. A light mix of schiava and lagrein grapes, serve this ruby red gem with pizza or red meat dishes or a tray of appetizers.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in an episode of TV's "Party of Five," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.