Where are you going to find a wine costing $9.99 a bottle and is rated 90 points by Robert Parker?
The Wine Novice presents the 2011 La Carraia Sangiovese Umbria, an Italian red that is Bargain No. 4 in my quest to build a 12-bottle case of quality wine for under $100.
La Carraia is a dry red wine of impeccable character, made from Italy’s workhorse Sangiovese grape whose name translates into Latin as “the blood of Jove.” This varietal is the foundation for classic Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and the modern “Super Tuscan” wines like the House of Antinori’s Tignanello which sells for $90 a bottle and more.
What will you taste in La Carraia? First, take in the color. If you could melt all the best and brilliant rubies in a glass, that’s what you’d see. The smell is jammy, with strawberry and a hint of earth. That’s the “dustiness” which you’ll feel on the palate as the Sangiovese travels across the tongue and deposits flavors of dark berries, mocha and even tobacco. The finish is extended with spicy flavors, maybe cinnamon.
La Carraia is an every day drinking wine in Italy. It is served with pizza, hard cheeses, and meaty pasta dishes. We enjoyed it with a steaming plate of rigatoni, sausage and meatballs, parmesan cheese, and crusty bread. Perfetto!
La Carraia Sangiovese represents a great introduction to those yearning to someday sample more expensive Italian wines, like Brunello, and want a “taste” of what the exploration might bring. Yet even if you don’t want to go beyond the simple Sangiovese of La Carraia, that’s fine too. You can start and stop here without regret.
I’ve now spent $32.46 on four wines, leaving $67.54 in the wallet and 8 bottles to go. Can I do it?