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Very Nice

Very nice doesn’t get much attention these days as everyone wants the “best” - meaning the pointiest wine of all. The Carlo Massimiliano Gritti winery in central Italy’s verdant Umbria is producing wines that are probably too nice to get big points, but they are indeed very lovely wines to enjoy with your dinner. With moderate alcohol levels and oak only where it’s deserved, these wines are are to be admired for their harmony instead of their volume.

The 2004 Ca’ Andrea (60% sangiovese, 35% canaiolo nero, 3 % montepulciano) is the least expensive and the most enjoyable of their offerings. Not that their other wines aren’t well done, but this wine is the most distinctive. Brilliantly fresh and zesty, this is a style of wine that reflects the pure Italian heritage of making a wine that is perfect with a meal.  Their 2004 Muda (70% sangiovese, 20% montepulciano, 10% merlot) is bigger and more robust. The sangiovese and montepulciano in this blend are still blissfully oak free and, fortunately, their brightness is not diluted by the pointless  addition of oak aged merlot. As with the Ca’ Andrea, you can’t help to be seduced by the bright lively flavors of this wine. The 2003 Il Doge (90 % sangiovese, 10% merlot)  is their stab at getting big points and, lucky for us, they got it wrong. Instead of yet another oaky Super Tuscan (Super Umbrian in the case) they have produced a silky, complex wine with just the right punch of tannin. A full flavored Tuscan style steak would be well matched by this elegant wine.

The wines from Carlo Massimilano Gritti wines are to be admired for their restraint, balance and for what they are not. Sometimes what a wine is not is more important than what it is.