It isn’t hard to find a good Italian restaurant in Northern California where I live, but other parts of the country don’t have it so easy. My mom lived in a small town, and in her final years she liked nothing more than to take a drive up the road to Olive Garden. And I had no complaints. The food was always tasty, if on the salty side, and it wasn’t like we had better alternatives. I stuck with the basic pastas and filled up on salad.
It helped that Villa Antinori Toscana was usually on the wine list and sold by the glass. The wine is Antinori’s idea of a value-oriented super Tuscan, blending Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. It blends Old World acidity and earthiness with New World texture and richness.
I hadn’t tried the wine in a few years and recently saw a bottle of the 2006 on the grocery shelf and bought it. I wasn’t disappointed. It was supple and slightly jammy but had excellent structure and fine tannins, with lots of smoky plum and fresh licorice notes. I gave it 90 points, non-blind. The suggested retail is $24, but I found it for $19, perhaps because the 2007 has just been released.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Antinori Toscana Villa Antinori Red 2006 (90, $24).
• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for recently rated Top Values among Italian reds.
Robert Greenwald — Atlanta, GA, USA — January 10, 2011 6:53pm ET
Tim Fish — Santa Rosa, CA — January 10, 2011 7:38pm ET
Louis Robichaux — Highland Village, Texas — January 11, 2011 12:41am ET
Jeremiah Morehouse — Sacramento CA — January 11, 2011 5:14pm ET
Tim Fish — Santa Rosa, CA — January 11, 2011 6:31pm ET
Jeremiah Morehouse — Sacramento CA — January 12, 2011 6:12pm ET
Ray Famiani — Kingsford, MI — January 13, 2011 8:37am ET
Mark Horowitz — Brooklyn, USA — January 14, 2011 10:06am ET
Joseph Bruno — Atlanta, GA — February 26, 2011 11:28pm ET
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