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soraieThis wine is made with the appassimento method, a specialty of this region of northeast Italy. Grapes are dried for several weeks before pressing thus developing concentrated flavor and giving more dimension to the wine as long as the raisin flavors are not too prominent. This one is quite successful although, with 40% Merlot and 20% Cabernet joining the more traditional Corvina and Croatina grapes, this is breaking all rules–especially the rule that says you can’t get good wine for $7.

Bright cherry notes just manage to peak through prominent damp leaves and faint herbal and smoke aromas. Raisin wrapped in coffee emerges on the palate but good acidity and a mineral core give lift to the full bodied, viscous frame, the medium length finish featuring fine grained, gentle but persistent tannins. Good complexity and thoroughly satisfying.

It gets its brood on but the acidity and minerality pull it back from the brink so the overall mood is poignant yet consoling.

Score: 88

Price: $7 at Trader Joe’s

Alc: 14%

The dank nose with its intimations of decay cries out for some moss-back, swamp blues from Tab Benoit.

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