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Wine of the Week

Superb $12 Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir

Reviewed by Wes Marshall, Fri., June 7, 2013

Wine of the Week

Sartori di Verona

For four generations, the Sartori family has grown to be one of the largest wine producers in the Verona wine region of Italy. Their wines range from lavish Amarones to inexpensive Pinot Nero and Soave. Six years ago, they hired one of Italy's best winemakers, ex-rock & roller Franco Bernabei, to be their consulting enologist. Wine takes time to go from the field to the winery, to the stores, and finally to your table. The good news for wine lovers is that you can now trust that any Sartori wine you see in a retail outlet will have been made by Mr. Bernabei.

We recently had the opportunity to taste through the Sartori di Verona wines with Andrea Sartori and Mr. Bernabei, and they were all worthwhile, delicious drinking wines. They were most proud of their rare and lush Amarones, which are wonderful wines. Hallelujah, we found some real treasures in the Sartori line, including two of their least expensive wines. Their Pinot Grigio delle Venezie IGT has a list price of $12, but you can occasionally find it for much less. So much of Italy's Pinot Grigio is insipid, yet Bernabei had us try his after the last Amarone. That's akin to trying a delicate young cow's milk cheese right after a plateful of Vindaloo pork. Still, the Pinot Grigio's quality was profound enough to come through. That's quite an accomplishment. Their $12 Pinot Noir Provincia di Pavia IGT is a wine that most California wineries would die to be able to sell at this low price. It had the lovely aromas you only get from Pinot Noir, plus just enough bright acidity to wake up your palate. Given Sartori's long experience with red wines, I assumed when I walked in that my favorite wine would be an Amarone or a Ripasso-style Valpolicella. Instead, it was a white wine made using slightly dried grapes, like a partial Amarone. The wine is called Ferdi Garganega Bianco Veronese IGT, and it's a real treat at $16 a bottle. You can buy Sartori wines at East End Wines, Mandola's Italian Market, South Lamar Wine and Spirits, and select Twin Liquors.

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