With a lot going on recently between my two week trip to Italy and all of the subsequent blog coverage on the trip as well as the Triple Crown races, I nearly forgot to feature a couple of wines to represent the past two months. In April, as you may remember, I spent two weeks in Italy, and while I have already posted a long blog recapping each winery I visited and the best wines I tasted, the focus was primarily on the local wines of Montalcino. What I didn’t mention is that while I was there I was also able to taste a fantastic Chianti that I bought on our first night there and enjoyed on my terrace. I’m always looking for standout Tuscan wines, and since the price point is very reasonable for the quality and it wasn’t included in my recap, that wine, which you will see below, is the Wine of the Month for April.

For May, I wanted to swich gears a bit and give some recognition to a fantastic and affordable Pinot Noir from the difficult 2011 vintage. This Pinot Noir blends grapes from the up-and-coming Mendocino region with the well-established Santa Barbara terroir. The Pinot-fever epidemic that followed the movie Sideways led to an increase in demand that allowed most producers to ramp up pricing, but at $22, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better quality Pinot. An offshoot from the well-established Belle Glos winery of Willamette Valley fame, this is certainly a label to keep your eye on. This is the first vintage to be labeled independent of the Belle Glos name.

Fontodi Chianti Classico 2009, 91 Points, $34, 10,000 Cases Made- Black cherry and wet limestone aromas. Packed and densely concentrated body with violet notes leading into black cherry, red licorice, plum and wet minerals, picking up notes of chocolate and sweet tobacco through the long finish. Super pure, driven and elegant. Tasted on terrace in Montalcino, Il Giglio, 4/19/13.


Meiomi Pinot Noir Mendocino-Santa Barbara Counties 2011, 91 Points, $22, 92,000 Cases Made- Vibrant, rich and jazzy, with silky blueberry, wild raspberry and cherry fruit notes backed by toasty mocha, white pepper spice and tobacco leaf nuances. Elegant finish with acidity pumping all the way through, finishing with dusty tannins.


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