This Old Wine
Calabretta's vineyards on Mount Etna.
Courtesy of Polaner Selections.

You don't have to be a hoarder or deep-pocketed auction-goer to drink well-aged wine. Here, we spotlight affordable old bottles to buy now.

2003 Calabretta Etna Rosso ($26): Many of the wines grown on Sicily's Mount Etna are crazily underpriced, but Calabretta's Etna Rosso is an especially good value because it arrives in stores having spent six to seven years in huge oak barrels and several more in bottle. Though it's made from Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Capuccio grapes, this wine bears resemblance to much more expensive Nebbiolo-based wines from Italy's Piedmont region. It's totally delicious, and it smells like black cherries, violets and peppery spices.

The (Wonderful) Effects of Age: This powerful, bright-tasting wine is becoming earthier and more herbal, making its fruit flavors taste deeper and more complex. The color is also changing: As they age, reds become less vivid, turning to what wine people call garnet (often indicating that an age-worthy wine is in its sweet-spot for drinking) and then darker and darker toward brown (at which point they're not very tasty). This one is still quite bright, but it's definitely becoming a pretty garnet.

Drink it With: Anything that would normally call for Barolo or Barbaresco. Chef Matthew Accarrino's cannelloni with walnuts and fried sage would be spectacular.

Where to Buy: Astor Wines. (Find more stores.)

Related: F&W Visits Mount Etna
Italian Grapes from A to Z
Best Italian Value Wines

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