The first thing I noticed on this wine was the color—it lived up to the half of its name that translates as “black.” The Duca Carlo Guarini was a dark black-violet color. On the advice I received when purchasing this wine, I decanted it for three hours before pouring. That was great advice, as the wine was so tight when I first pulled the cork, I didn’t really get anything on the nose as I poured the contents of the bottle into the decanter. Based on the small sip I took before decanting, this negroamaro lived up to the second half of the translation of its name—”bitter.”
Decanting did the Duca Carlo Guarini great justice. After the three-hour decant, I got some bold, dark fruits on the nose. There were also some nice vanilla/cream notes in there. On the palate, those bold fruits came through well. I got some tart fruit—mostly cranberry. The tannins were pretty big, but fairly smooth. As I sipped this wine over a couple of hours, the palate showed some very nice (dare I say) grape notes and a little blackberry. The finish on this wine was long, long, long. This is a wine to have with food or to sip slowly. I paired the Duca Carlo Guarini with a rich meat sauce and pasta. It was a decent enough paring, but I didn’t absolutely love the two together.
With The Rib out of town for the week, I vacuum sealed half of this bottle for the next night.
On the second evening, this wine had a little more prominent nose of blackberry and cranberry. The palate was a bit dull the second evening, showing some muted fruit and cream notes. The dark, sour fruit I tasted the first night this wine was open came across as pomegranate the next evening. The finish was a little harsher, but overall, this wine was still fairly smooth. I grilled up a ribeye steak to pair with the Duca Carlo Guarini on the second night it was open and favored this pairing over the pasta and meat sauce. However, I found myself enjoying the wine more before and after dinner than with food across both evenings. As big as this wine is, it would stand up well to rich foods, and I would not hesitate to sip this wine slowly with a cigar, either.
The Duca Carlo Guarini is a nice, big wine and is a great buy at $18. While this wine would definitely benefit from some additional bottle time and should cellar well for several years, it can be enjoyed immediately if decanted for several hours. For me, the wine hit a “sweet spot” somewhere between four and five hours in the decanter. Any fan of a bold Syrah/Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon should give this one a try.
From the Corkpit,