Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara. Valpolicella, Amarone, and Appassimento. The grapes, the wines, and the methods of the Veneto look strange to Americans. It's little wonder that people in a culture saturated with talk of Merlots and Cabs might feel intimidated when they read these exotic terms. It's even no surprise that some the best sommeliers shy away from Italian wine: it's a vast world with thousands of indigenous varietals, and nobody wants to feel like a novice, especially not a professional.
Italy's grapes, methods and regions may seem difficult to get to know, but no Italian region's wines will move you so swiftly from ignorant confusion to pleasurable confusion like the Veneto. Today, I'm proud to present a delicious Valpolicella from Nicolis, a small family producer who makes traditional, deeply tasty and altogether affordable bottlings of the Veneto's most famous wines. Nicolis makes exceptional, drinkable wines, and today's stellar Valpolicella is priced at under $20 a bottle. It's hard to go wrong with a wine this right.
If you're anything like me, you're depleting your cellar as you open bottles for friends during the holidays. Don't fear! There's a terrific sale of single bottles (and some doubles) from IWM's temperature-controlled stock below, so you can fill your cellar with all kinds of beautiful wines. Finally, 2012 was a warm vintage in Italy's Montalcino, and Poggio di Sotto, a beloved Brunello maker, crafted a Rosso di Montalcino that drinks like perfumed silk--you'll find it below.