While tradition is Italy's undisputed strength, Italy's winemakers have always welcomed change, and Italians' taste preferences have always evolved. For example, until the 1840s when Louis Oudart changed winemaking protocol, Barolo makers used their Nebbiolo to create a sweeter wine. Oudart's changes caused the Barolo we all know and love to come into being. Put into that historical perspective, the efforts of Montalcino's Tancredi Biondi-Santi and Bolgheri's Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, though pioneering, were a part of the constant evolution of Italian wine that is necessary--and unavoidable.
Many winemakers built on the success of the pioneering Super-Tuscans, and Bolgheri along with the rest of Toscana experienced a proliferation of wines made from international grapes. One of the finest, and most famous, of these Super-Tuscan estates is Piero Antinori's Guado al Tasso, and I'm proud to offer the new 2014 release of Guado al Tasso's entry-level Il Bruciato. Though Guado al Tasso's 1990 inaugural vintage meant that Antinori was a Bolgheri latecomer, it nonetheless further changed the face of Italian wine, something for which critics, collectors and connoisseurs are regularly grateful. We usually associate Guado al Tasso with its flagship Super Tuscan, but this $20 Il Bruciato lets you taste the Bolgheri magic any night of the week.
Speaking of revolutionary winemakers, Alberico Boncompagni Ludovisi, the Prince of Venosa, changed things up in the mid-twentieth century by growing organically, aging his whites for longer than usual, and being an all-around iconoclast. There's one incredible 1993 Sémillon for you to enjoy, and if you want to experience a wine that stops time in a bottle, this is for you. Finally, the Bryant family in Napa Valley have grown a cult following for their Bordeaux-style blends; there's a powerhouse duo of Bettina bottlings that Bryant family fans won't want to miss.