Cantine Sant' Agata 2003 Barbera d'Asti "Baby," $10
Very nice nose of cherry, flowers, herbs and dusty earth. On the palate, there is good cherry fruit accented by plenty of herbs and some more dusty earth. Decent acidity, reasonably smooth, not overextracted in the least, quite enjoyable and remarkable for the vintage. Excellent match with fusilli in a puttanesca-style sauce with veggie Italian sausage. Two days later, it’s similar with sage-like herbs particularly prominent. Very nice again. Importer: Siema LLC.
Antoniolo 2001 Costa della Sesia Nebbiolo “Juvenia,” $13
This starts out with a somewhat harsh, tarry nose and an astringent, bitter palate. But after 15 minutes or so, beautiful roses come to dominate the bouquet and bright, floral strawberry flavors emerge, accented by nice herbal notes. Nicely structured, fairly lightweight yet with ample intensity of flavors (after 15 minutes), good acidity and a reasonably smooth texture. Definitely a food wine and an excellent match with noodles baked with tomato sauce, broccoli and cheese. A great value for Nebbiolo. Importer: Bacchus Imports.
Marchesi di Grésy 2001 Dolcetto d'Alba “Monte Aribaldo,” $16
Flowers, black cherry, minerals and earth come wafting out of the glass, followed by flavors of rich black cherry and blackberry fruit with dark earth and minerals. The finish has a strong bitter note, which I don’t mind. This has a very tannic feel and almost seems spritzy, which seems odd for a 4 ½ year-old wine. But overall, I like it. It’s a very fine match with spaghetti. The next day, it tastes the same except that the spritz sensations are gone. Importer: Marchesi di Grésy, Napa, Calif.
Travignoli 2001 Chianti Rufina, $8 (375 ml)
Barnyard is what first emerges on the nose but it’s not unpleasant. Gradually, this diminishes with cherry, flowers, earth, herbs and minerals emerging. On the palate, there is nice cherry fruit with a wonderful minerally finish I often get from Chianti Rufina. It has bright acidity, reasonably smooth texture and goes great with pizza. Importer: Kysela.>