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argiano rossoThis “baby Brunello” is no twaddling tot. It offers a compelling semblance of Brunello charm for half of the cost.

Simple at first blush, bright red cherry and freshly turned earth are the keynotes against a restrained oak background. But with air, it turns dusty and  develops a licorice aroma amidst darker, dried fruit. Decanting is a good idea.

In the mouth it’s juicy and the oak raises its voice a bit. The fruit begins to dry out at midpalate becoming leathery, and the texture turns very firm from midpalate into the finish,  a long, fluent, expansive evolution that produces a burst of strikingly mouthwatering acidity against some bristly  tannins to remind you this is country wine. An earth-toned medium body with plenty of sinewy flavor.

100% Sangiovese from the lesser blocks of a solid, affordable Brunello producer. Aged in 1 year old French oak barriques and larger Slavonian barrels.

Refined without being polished, it has an earnest, earthy dignity and hard won elegance like Patsy Cline’s Walkin’ After Midnight

Score: 90

Price: $24 (available at BevMo)

Alc: 14%