Wine review: Casali di Bibbiano 2005 Argante Rosso

Alberto_GuadagniniA small, family-owned winery tucked into the hills of Tuscany, Casali di Bibbiano is the dream of Alberto Guadagnini, an Italian native who spent much of his career in New York City running Italian restaurants. He purchased the Casali property in 1995 and transformed it into a vacation destination that also makes wines. They’ve only just begun to distribute the wines — which range from a light-hearted Toscano sangiovese red blend called Casalone to this Super Tuscan (what’s this?) cabernet blend — and I sat down with his son, Marco and partner, Justin Pecka (both Tampa Bay locals), to try them out. I was impressed with the variety and their high quality, especially the Argante Rosso.

A delicious combination of 70% cabernet sauvignon and 30% merlot, this refined big boy has gracefully restrained tannins, balanced acidity, black cherry, figs, vanilla oak, leather and the characteristic dustiness of Italian wines. Long, fruit-mixed-with-earth finish. Most definitely a food wine, try it with an aged parmesan reggiano and you’ll be blissful.

Sweetness: 1 out of 10
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
: $20-$25
: Tasted with winery representative.
Food pairing: Hearty, full-fat meats and salty cheeses.
Availability: Fine wine shops
Available in Tampa at Bern’s Fine Wines and Ed’s Fine Wines

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