I’ll admit Pinot Noir is not the first grape that comes to mind when I think of Italian wine, but I enjoyed two recently that were such an incredible value I had to share.
I purchased both of the bottles at Costco for a ridiculously cheap price -one was $7.49 and the other was $12.69. These are the kinds of prices that definitely keep expectations low, but also make you so curious that you can’t pass them up.
Pinot Noir is not totally unheard of in Italy. In fact, according to Italian Wine Central there are about 12,463 acres of Pinot Noir growing in the northern portion of the country. Lombardia claims 59% of the vines, which perhaps makes sense when you consider the region is best known for the sparkling wine Franciacorta. The other regions with some Pinot Noir to speak of are Trentino-Alto Aldige with about 12% of the vines, and the Veneto with 9%. That leaves about 20% of the Pinot Noir vines unaccounted for and at least some of them are in the Piemonte because one of my wines is from that region.
Monte Degli Angeli|2019 Pinot Noir|Piemonte IGT|13% ABV|$7.49 (Costco price)
If I had tasted this wine blind, I would have never guessed – in one hundred million years – that it falls in the under $10 price category. In fact, I’m a little blown away and lot smitten with a wine that drinks the way this one does for that price – especially a Pinot Noir.
A beautiful, see-through ruby color in the glass, it was expressive on the nose and mildly complex on the palate. A quick google search shows most reviews coming in at 88-89 and I’m telling you it’s because no one wants to go out on a limb and hang their hat on a $7.49 wine. I get it. It makes no sense and falls squarely into the “if it seems to good to be true” category.
Notes of cherry, strawberry, and an earthy, tomato vine (that smell when you pick them) on the nose. On the palate all of this carried over with an mushroom and violet note. The mouthfeel was smooth as silk, with great acidity, and a long finish. What more can you ask for?
I could not find a lot of info about this producer, or the production methods on this wine. Apparently Monte Degli Angeli is located in Puglia? I question the internet on this as the importer says that Neirano Cellars is the producer but I find no mention of this wine at the Tenute Neirano website. Production methods are also non existent, but unless this is a big vat of Big Purple, it doesn’t really matter. This wine is an absolute treasure at the price point.
Italo Sescon|Vino Dell’Amicizia|2019 Pinot Noir| Veneto IGT|12.5% ABV| $12.69 (Costco price)
Again, an incredible bang for the buck with this Pinot Noir from the Veneto region. This wine will make you wonder why we don’t see much, much more Pinot Noir from Italy.
A bit darker in the glass, but actually lighter in feel. I guess I have to say it – this wine is a bit more elegant. Perhaps that smidge less ABV is what is making this wine dance across the tongue with notes of cherry, baking spice, orange blossom, and minerality. I’m digging wines with a mineral note lately and so this one really checked that box for me.
I love to research the wines I’m drinking and again, I couldn’t find much on the producer or the production method for this wine. The best information came from the cute little note tied to the top of the bottle – props to the Costco Wine Blog for giving me the heads up on that. I’m pretty sure I would’ve just thought it was decoration and never taken the time to look at it.
Italo Sescon is a family run operation in the Veneto region, practicing organic growing methods. Started by the father, it is now run by three children and their mother. I couldn’t find this particular wine on the Italo Sescon website and wonder if it is only produced for export, or maybe even just for Costco. It is a great mystery to me how a wine like this can be produced following organic methods, processed, bottled, and exported with a price tag of $12.69.
It is worth noting that both of these wnes are 2019 vintage – they are so young! I am hoping to find replacement bottles on my next trip to Costco as I’d like to see how they age.
Have you discovered an Italian Pinot Noir? I’d love to hear about it.