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2011 Borgo Syrah 

Cortona, Italy

Retail $16-$22

Though they use different names, French syrah and Australian shiraz wines are among the most acclaimed bottlings of the deeply flavorful grape, but other regions have produced the warm weather varietal with excellent results. The grape is well used in some Spanish wines, in the Languedoc's blends of grenache, syrah and mourvedre, and in Tuscany and Sicily. This 100 percent syrah is from Cortona, a small D.O.C. (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) in central Italy. The winery, Tenimenti Luigi d'Alessandro, was founded by the Alessandro family, whch purchased 200 acres of the 17th-century Manzano estate 50 years ago. In 1988, the family began experimenting with syrah planted by a University of Milan professor of enological and viticultural sciences. High-quality Rhone Valley clones were selected, the soil and climate were studied and winemaking methods were evaluated. The study proved syrah to be an excellent varietal for taking advantage of the soils, drainage, sun exposure and climate. Following harvest, this wine was vinified in stainless steel and concrete vats for 12 months. In the glass, it exhibits complex aromas of red and black berries, anise and a hint of tobacco. On the palate, taste cherry, plum, black pepper and spice notes. Decant 30 minutes before serving. Drink it with salami and other cured meats, Kalamata olives, grilled vegetables, meatballs and spaghetti, veal chops, braised beef short ribs, roast fowl and game and firm cheeses. Buy it at: Swirl Wine Bar & Market and Acquistapace's Covington Supermarket. Drink it at: Domenica, Marcello's Wine Bar & Restaurant, Red Gravy and Nuvolari's.

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