Italian Wine Advent Calendar, Week 2

Planning ahead for vinous tranquility in a season of harried happenstance promises to pay off! Here are my thoughts on Italian wines for this second Advent Calendar week.

December 4, Sunday: Allegrini 2004 Villa Giona– a substantial red composed of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah from the northeastern region of Veneto with a few years of age on it. It's perfect for the Sunday afternoon table as its sure please everyone. The fruit purity, deft concentration and elegant minerality of this wine remind me how much I wish we could drink more wines a few years after they usually come onto the market. Alas, we drink too much wine too young.

December 5, Monday: Giacomo Borgogno 2009 Barbera d’Alba – a supple, red-fruit vixen from the Alba region of Piedmont, this bottling will be gone before you know it. A great wine with which to plot your holiday navigation chart!

December 6, Tuesday: Massolino-Vigna Rionda 2010 Chardonnay– floral and mineral with baby fat on the mid-palate. This northwestern Italian Chardonnay dazzles both the palate and intellect in how it comes off as familiar in flavor and fresh in character.

December 7, Wednesday: Altesino 2007 Palazzo Altesi– this Sangiovese bottling from the highly respected Elisabetta Angelini in Montalcino won’t disappoint. It’s a of a mid-week splurge, hovering around $30, but why save everything for the weekend? This is a good sipper as well as a wine that can handle a hearty meat dish.

December 8, Thursday: Fèipu dei Massaretti 2010 Rossese Di Albenga– because it’s that time in the week when you see the light at the end of the tunnel but you know you’re still working hard…and you’re thirsty. This über cool and geeky wine from the Liguria region won’t set you back too much…depending on how badly you need to slake your thirst, of course!

December 9, Friday: Toffoli NV Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Frizzante– a classic Italian sparkler to celebrate the work week's end and kick-off the weekend. This wine has a moderate dosage, is impressively pure in its fruit aromatics and has tiny, tiny bubbles…hard to pull off with Prosecco. Cin cin!

December 10, Saturday: Conti Sertoli Salis 2007 Inferno– this is a wine for a gathering that appreciates food and wine together. Inferno is made from Nebbiolo, an aromatic black grape with loads of tannin and acid. Nebbiolo is a dramatically delicious table wine because it offers layers of complexity. Be sure to serve it with the main course.