top of page

Italian Wine Reigns Supreme

Il Vino Italiano Regna Suprema

The quality of Italian wine becoming available to consumers lately is unparalleled. Week after week, the Leschi Market tasting panel sees more and more wines that command our attention. So much so in fact, the wine department expanded the Italian section to accommodate the influx. Been drinking Brunello your entire life? Are you curious yet intimidated by Italian wines and varietals? No matter which end of the spectrum you find yourself on, or somewhere in the middle, now is the time. From high end to inexpensive, the choices, the quality and the pricing has never been better. What follows is a “hot seven,” of sorts, however I do encourage you to stroll through the Market to see the abundance of new and exciting wine!

2011 Schiavenza Barolo Prapò ($56)

“Sweet cherry and plum notes are complemented by licorice, leather, tar and tobacco flavors in this muscular, beefy red, which is balanced, with a long aftertaste that emphasizes its savory, briary side. Best from 2019 through 2033. 275 cases made.” - Wine Spectator, 95 points.

2009 Vignalta “Agno Tinto” Rosso del Veneto ($21)

75% Petite Sirah is blended with 25% Syrah. In 1998, the 40-year-old vineyard of Tocai was grafted with Petite Sirah. This is the newest red wine at Vignalta and one of its most innovative. The wine has been greeted with a ‘standing ovation’. It is warm, with notes of raspberries and blackberries. Spicy and elegant …an iron fist in a velvet glove.

2014 Cantina Altarocca Arcosesto Bianco Orvieto Classico Superiore Umbria ($15)

“Altarocca at 350m above sea level has a longer ripening season. Using classic Umbrian varietals, such as Grechetto and even Procanico, it has a deep respect for tradition, but also a highly modern approach to winemaking, using low yields, sustainable methods and the best technology. This wine is bright and sunny, with citrus and granite overtones.” -Small Vineyards

2008 La Fiorita Brunello di Montalcino Tuscany ($48)

“Alluring from start to finish, this boasts cherry, earth, spice and mineral flavors. Firmly structured, remaining vibrant and long on the finish. Best from 2015 through 2026.” - Wine Spectator, 91 points.

2014 Tenute Rubino Susumaniello ‘Oltreme’ Salento Puglia ($13)

Made from native grape Susumaniello, this conveys aromas of charred earth, mature plum and a hint of coffee bean. The soft, dense palate offers juicy black cherry, pomegranate, licorice and a note of black pepper alongside ripe, velvety tannins.

2014 Gran Passione Rosso Veneto ($12)

This rich, deeply colored red is made from 60% Merlot and 40% Corvina from select vineyards in Veneto. In homage to the Amarone wines of Valpolicella, the vines are cut but the grapes are left to dry naturally on the vine, a method known as Appassimento. The result is a rich luscious nose full of sweet, ripe dark cherry, plum, vanilla and Christmas spice. The body is rich and velvety, with lots of juicy fruit.

2014 Erste + Neue Kellerei Rosso Classico Superiore Alto Adige Italy ($10)

This 100% Schiava comes from select parcels within the micro– zone of Lago di Caldaro (Kalterersee) Classico Superiore. Its fragrance is reminiscent of spring wild flowers, crushed peppercorn, red and blue mountain fruits and hints of campfire. Light-to-medium bodied yet generous mouthfeel, with a balanced acidity and a brilliant fruity finish.


Kenneth Benner, a Seattle area native, is a trained chef and has worked in such restaurants as Barbacoa, B.O.K.A. Kitchen + Bar, and Dahlia Lounge. Ken is the wine buyer at Leschi Market. He has a passion for learning, a meticulous palate, and a tenacity for searching out the best for his customers while offering some of the most highly coveted wines in the area. His wine column is intended to inspire and explore new choices in wine, learn about wine with his readers, and share his knowledge and experiences in the wine world. Check out the latest at or request to be added to email updates or send questions, comments, or suggestions to and follow the wine department directly on twitter at

bottom of page