Wine Reviews: Old World Wines

beverage dynamics wine reviews panel old world wines

For our first wine panel of 2021, we asked panelists to taste and rate Old World wines. These wine reviews could be any style from anywhere in the Old World.

As always, these selections include brief tasting notes, a rating and the wine’s retail price (which can vary from store to store and market to market). Unless noted otherwise, the price reflects a 750-ml. bottle.

If you’re a beverage professional with a specialty in wine and you’re interested in participating in the panel, please contact Editor Kyle Swartz at kswartz@epgmediallc.com or 763-383-4447.

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Rating System

Five Stars (100-92): A top-flight wine, superior in taste and character, and providing a superior price/value ratio.

Four Stars (91-86): A very good wine and an excellent value. A wine for which customers will keep coming back.

Five Stars

(98) Mocali Rosso de Montalcino 2017 (Italy)

100% sangiovese, rich and full of flavor. Medium bodied, with earthy overtones. Slight tannin with smooth finish. Organic. ($20.45)

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(98) Ceretto Dolcetto D’Alba Rossana 2018 (Italy)

Classic and extremely tasty example of Dolcetto. Fruit in harmony with earthy notes and just a touch of bright tannin, super aromatic with a long finish. Just enough grip to make you want to drink it more. ($19.75)

(97) Boscarelli Il Nocio Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2016 (Italy)

This absolutely outstanding Tuscan wine from one of the area’s most renown producers is a world-class example of sangiovese. It is profoundly elegant and supple, with structure and body, creating a balanced, wonderful wine. A very special bottle. ($120)

(97) Chateau des Bachelards Comtesse de Vazeilles Fleurie 2018 (France)

An extraordinary Beaujolais and the best vintage for this gamay. Complex with nuances of berries, cola, graphite and violets, all wrapped in firm but subtle tannins. One of the best! ($47.95)

(96) Bonnet-Huteau Les Bonnets Blancs Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lie 2020 (France)

This wine shows little notes of salinity on the nose, ripe fruit on the palate with a touch of crisp citrus. Rocky slate notes, crisp dry finish, medium bodied. Slightly lower alcohol at 12%. Perfect chilled with or without food. ($15.40)

(95) Parmoleto Montecucco Sangiovese Riserva 2016 (Italy)

A superb wine from one of the less-well-known regions in Tuscany, this sangiovese riserva provides plenty of quality. Aging in large casks allows the dark, rich fruit to shine, with a touch of added structure. An excellent intro to the wines of this region. ($55)

(95) La Cana Albarino Galicia Rias Baixas 2020 (Spain)

This is an eye-opening expression of a grape that we all should drink more. Notes of sur-lie aging give this wine great body. Fresh flavors of fruit, with a faint ocean salinity. ($16.25)

(95) Vina Alberdi Reserva 2016 (Spain)

Another smashing red from the 2016 vintage. A mix of vanilla, cocoa and tobacco, with lush tannins and oak that does not overwhelm the palate. Throw in a touch of earth and spice and you have the perfect wine for roast lamb. ($20)

(95) Marco Bonfante “Bussia” Barolo 2015 (Italy)

The grapes are sourced from one of the top vineyards or cru in Piedmont. Pure nebbiolo, the wine is brilliant ruby in the glass, with notes of dark fruit, with floral notes, and subtle hint of truffle, for which the region is justly famous. A great pairing for game and wild fowl ($69)

(94) Maison du Midi Chateauneuf-Du-Pape 2020 (France)

Broad and generous in the mouth, with ripe cherry, plum and blueberries arousing the tastebuds. A kiss of smoked bacon fat is exposed on the bold finish that is smooth and silky, showing no rough edges. A tremendous value that is also very versatile pairing with anything from burgers to steaks to grilled fish. ($30)

(94) Chateau D’Etroyes Mercurey Rouge 1er Cru Le Clos L’Eveque 2018 (France)

Inviting aromas of black cherries, violet and bergamot flirt with the nose. Dazzling flavors of raspberry, blackberry and blueberry blossom in the mouth before surrendering to a long, generous finish, sprinkled with notes of fresh roasted coffee and baking spices. To get a burgundy of this quality at this low of a price truly is a rare find. ($40)

(94) Herdade do Rocim Alicante Bouschet 2019 (Portugal)

Alicante Bouschet may have been born in the southeastern France, but it has truly found its home in Portugal. Herdade do Rocim produces an excellent version, with plenty of deep color in the glass, and lightly spiced black fruit on the nose, which is echoed in the palate. Lots of structure, with integrated tannins, the wine is delicious now, and shows great potential for further development. ($22.50)

(94) Bocale Montefalco Sagrantino 2016 (Italy)

From the Umbria region in central Italy, Sagrantino makes for some very powerful, structured wines. And this bottle is no exception. A brilliant, saturated, ruby in the glass, the nose is dominated by ripe black fruit, with subtle space and vanilla hints. The wine is rich and powerful in the mouth, with a long and balanced finish. ($46.99)

(94) Michele Chiarlo Cipressi 2018 (Italy)

This 100% barbera wine is a superb example of the variety. It showcases barbera’s quality and versatility, with lots and lots of black, supple fruit. The tannins are well integrated into the wine. Accessible now, it also has great potential for medium-range aging. ($26.99)

(93) Beni di Batasiolo Gavi 2020 (Italy)

A fresh gavi, made from the Cortese grape in Piedmont. Like all gavis, this wine is completely dry and shows racy acidity. The trademark nutty and floral notes are present in this wine in just the right concentrations. ($18)

(93) Inama Bradisismo 2017 (Italy)

Primarily cabernet sauvignon, with some carménère added to provide suppleness and some brightness, this wine is a very dark ruby in the glass. The nose and palate share the same intensity of black fruit, with cocoa and vanilla notes. The weight and richness on the palate are well balanced by its structure and lingering finish. ($28.99)

(93) Hidalgo la Gitana Triana Pedro Ximenez (Spain)

Many people think of sherry as something to be sipped out of a small glass while Aunt Alice is watching an evening soap. This is nothing like that. This powerful, complicated, elegant dessert wine is an outstanding way to finish a meal. Lots of dried fruit notes, with hints of vanilla, and touches of spice. Wonderful. ($26.99)

(93) Rolland Galarreta 2018 (Spain)

A majority of the wine is produced from tempranillo, with merlot added to the blend. An excellent wine, the result of a collaboration between the Spanish owner and the well-regarded French winemaker, Michel Rolland. Quite dark in the glass, the nose and palate both possess dark fruit, with hints of spice and floral notes. Plenty of power and length on the finish. ($20)

(92) Gran Pasas, Monastrell 2019 (Spain)

From eastern Spain, this monastrell (Known as mourvèdre in many other regions) is a brilliant, nearly opaque ruby in the glass. The nose is filled with generous black fruit, with touches of dark chocolate. The mouthfeel is broad and weighty, contributing to the wine’s complexity, and overall enjoyment. ($18)

(92) Ch Treytins Lalande de Pomerol (France)

Ripe, intense with deep red, and black fruits on nose and palate. The character of the wine is soft yet punchy, with nice grip to the mouthfeel and a long-lasting finish. ($24.99)

(92) Apertus Cheval Quancard Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux 2020 (France)

Honey colors and flavors combine with lovely pineapple, lemon and peach notes. The sweetness and citrus bring balance and a zesty finish that keeps going. ($14.99)

(92) Seastone Riesling 2020 (Germany)

White flowers on the nose, with freshness and lots of acidity on the palate. The lemon and peach notes are fun and zippy, delivering an equilibrium and approachability to the wine. ($11.99)

(92) Ch Landat Haut Medoc 2017 (France)

Powerful cherry and raspberry notes are the focus of the wine. Smooth texture and an energetic finish elevate the fruit-forward structure and give the wine depth and fun. ($24.99)

(92) Laudato Pinot Grigio 2021 (Italy)

Ripe green apple and bright pear notes are layered on this wine from top to bottom. The acidity and freshness lift the fruit and dance along the clean and beautiful palate. ($19.99)

(92) Chateau Lamothe Saint-Germain 2019 (France)

Mostly merlot with a 10% dollop of cabernet franc to seduce the palate. Generous amounts of dark fruit emerge, exposing notes of blackberry, raspberries and plum, with a slight touch of cocoa powder on the long, steady finish. Soft tannins create a silky mouthfeel. A wonderfully seductive wine that way overdelivers for its price point. ($15)

(92) Famiglia Castellani Sangiovese 2016 (Italy)

Always a solid wine and great value, this new vintage hits it out of the park. Dark red cherry and crushed blueberries fill the mouth with a slightly more modern feel. Showing great balance, the finish is sprinkled with dried herbs and subtle spices. An amazing value makes this an every-day wine that would love to be paired with pizza, or dressed up for short ribs. ($16)

(92) Larchago, “Izarbe” Rioja Reserva, 2011 (Spain)

Very aromatic and easy to love. Aromas of dill, coconut and Malibu invite. Seamless and lengthy, with flavors of leather, tobacco and dark fruits. ($25.99)

Four Stars

(91) Frecobaldi Rèmole Toscana Rosso 2019 (Italy)

Year after year, this wine does not disappoint. A blend of mostly sangiovese with a dash of cabernet sauvignon for structure, it is soft and fruity, but has enough backbone to stand up to substantial dishes. ($12)

(91) Barba Vasari Montepulciano D’Abruzzo DOC 2020 (Italy)

Dark cherry and bright raspberry notes shine, while grippy textured tannins give complexity. The wine is full of fun and long-lasting energy that overdelivers. ($12.99)

(91) Bougrier ‘V’ 2020 (France)

Honeysuckle and peach flavors are well layered and succulent. The backbone of this wine is the acidity that brings it all together and gives the wine all its refreshing charm. ($16.99)

(91) L’Auratae Nero d’Avola 2020 (Italy)

Red fruit and herbal notes on the nose carry to the palate with the addition of slight hints of leather. It all melds beautifully with the energetic mouthfeel and smooth texture. ($13.99)

(91) Bougrier Rose d’Anjou 2020 (France)

Fresh and fun strawberry and raspberry notes enhance the crisp, refreshing characteristics. The slight sweetness, acidity and bright fruit add a notable finish to this wine. ($14.99)

(91) Luc Pirlet Rosé 2020 (France)

Crisp and clean with dashes of cherry and raspberry that dance along the palate so you can taste the rosé identity. Interesting energetic texture is the backbone of this wine and gives it a fun nature. $12.99

(91) Dolia Cannonau di Sardegna 2020 (Italy)

Ripe black cherry, herbal, with meaty notes are at the centerstage of this wine. It is rich, dry, elegant, and has a polished feel with dark fruit lingering on the impressive finish. ($16.99)

(91) Bellini Chianti 2020 (Italy)

Fresh red-fruit focused, with a hint of a rustic edge to the secondary flavors. The deep cherry notes are intense on the nose and palate, making the enjoyable nature of this chianti plain and interesting. ($12.99)

(90) Dominique et Jeanine Crochet Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc 2019 (France)

If you can stop sniffing this wine you might actually move on to the luxurious palate of stone fruit, mineral and citrus. Fill up your wine safe with this one! ($23.95)

(89) Hecht & Bannier Minnervois 2015 (France)

Mostly syrah with grenache. Meaty and peppery with dried herbs and violets. Dark-fruit driven on a polished mouthfeel with bright disposition that makes this wine a pleasure to drink. ($22)

(88) Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco Grasparossa Amabile NV (Italy)

Playful bubbles from a secondary tank fermentation. Aromas and flavors of rose, ripe strawberry, balsamic and a grapey sweetness. A wonderful wine and food pairing with parmigiana cheese and delicious with carbonara. ($14.99)

Want more reviews? Our wine panels in the past year have included:

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