I recently finished my final portion of Italian wines in my Tuesday night course; the truncated sessions went by too fast to do the country justice. In the last segment, dedicated strictly to Southern Italy, we tasted through 15 bottles of wine while plowing through history and styles of wines from twelve different regions.

We paced ourselves through Toscana, marching faster and further south into Marche, Umbria, Lazzio, Abruzzo winding down to the toe of Italy—Calabria—before we trod the waters of the Tyrrhenian to reach Sicily and concluded our voyage with a trip to Sardegna (Sardinia).

We tasted through theses wines:

06 Castello della Paneretta Chianti Classico

08 Castello Romitorio Rosso di Montalcino

04 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Sanguineto, Prugnole Gentile (Sangiovese)

03 Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG Casa Triocco

08 Lacrima di Moro d’Alba Rubico

09 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Gran Sasso

07 Cesanese del Piglio Corte dei Papi Cesanese

08 Fiano di Avellino Colli di Lapio Marzo

05 Aglianico di Vulture Cantina Venosa, Aglianico/Terre di Orazio

06 Cir San Francesco, Galliopo

08 Nero d’Avola Cusumano

07 Etna Rosso Sal Foti Dilic

09 Vermentino di Gallura Deiana

08 Cannonau di Sardegna Contini

05 Colli di Lapio Romano Clelia, Taurasi

The frenzied pace, left a lot to be desired, I could have sat and enjoyed the brunt of these bottles, on their own, writing a novel (a blog entry, for certain) on each, but, we forced our way through the tasting. I have a newfound appreciation for Campania after tasting our delectable DOCG Taurasi that was soft on the palate and bursting at the seams with herbs, bark and cherries.

Another standout among the many, was the 2004 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano with an exemplary bouquet synonymous with Tuscan reds—leather, cherry, smoke and dried herbs, more of the same followed on the palate that was delivered with a powerful intensity, filled out with a hearty structure of tannins and oak integration and would not relent with a long and favorable finish.

It was tough to say goodbye to a country that has had a special place and sparked my wine interests for so long, but I can rest assured knowing that I will continue to work the many wines of Italy into my countdown and through my cellar rotation as the year carries on. After the fifteen wines of Italy in one night, I am left with 357 on my Road-to-500 and a single desire that the time be slowed down a tick so that I can savor and reflect on the wines because they so deserve it.