A perpetual Best Buy and a frequent selection for the Top 100 lists, Monte Antico is a Tuscan gem that over delivers vintage after vintage. Made from a selection of Tuscany's finest vineyard sites, a blend of 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot, Monte Antico is Neil & Maria Empson's tribute to Tuscany. Importers of exceptional Italian wines for over thirty years the Empsons have grown a strong affinity with Italian wines and its terrior. Maestro Franco Bernabei does the honors as winemaker, selecting the best grape lots, fermenting slowly and then aging the finished wine 1 year in oak (80% in Slavonian, 20% French) and at least 6 months in the bottle to achieve a graceful balance of voluptuous berry tones and a soft forward style that's ideal with food. James Suckling scored this 91 points saying "This is one of the best value Italian reds on the market. Medium to full body with dried cherry, milk chocolate and light chili aromas and flavors. Long and delicious. Caressing mouthfeel. Bright acidity. A blend of sangiovese, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. Drink now. Screw cap."
I bought this thinking it had all the attributes in a good quality red wine at a price I wouldn't feel guilty about since I consume red wine on a regular basis with dinner. In that category it didn't disappoint, I can find very little difference between it and the more expensive regional Cabernet & Merlot varietals and I find it goes well with just about anything of light fare including pasta. Thinking the screw on top was a plus influenced my purchase, but much to my disappointment the tops are not amendable to removing by hand. Instead I had to carefully remove them with a pair of plumbers pliers, now it's a tossup whether this is better than the tried a true cork removal method, especially in a social setting. I find most Italian wines very pleasing and to be a great purchase value, unlike many domestic offerings, to date I've never been disappointed.