Casa Contini Biferno Riserva 2009: Ruby-purple color; cherry, plum, some florals, oatmeal on the nose; ripe red and black fruits, red cherry, blackberry, vanilla smoke on the palate,
with leather and spice on the finish; easy-going tannin, low acidity, dry, rich, lush, smooth, balanced. Blend of 85% montepulciano and 15% aglianico; the montepulciano brings softness, fruit, and rusticity, while the aglianico contributes backbone and structure. Unlike many southern Italy offerings that flaunt floridly high alcohol, this is a decorous—and appropriate—13%. Aged 18 months in Slavonian oak and then six months in the bottle (thus the riserva designation), this is superb value-for-price play, drinking like a bottle twice the price. Biferno is a relatively new DOC in southern Italy, named after the Biferno River that eventually flows in Adriatic. It is one of Italy’s most obscure wine regions, which may account for the huge value. $14 Second photo shows wine region.