Beginner questions about my wine collection

Ever since I got back from Italy last fall I have become hooked on wine, especially reds. My pithy collection right now is composed of Italian wines, some of which I brought back from Italy and others that I got as X-mas gifts. Specifically, the wines are:

1) Gavi La Scalca (2004) (a white wine)
2) Terre di Bo, Brunello di Montalcino (2000)
3) Apostoli, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva (2001)
4) Allegrini, Amarone (2000)
5) Argiano, Brunello di Montalcino (1998)
6) Altesino, Brunello di Montalcino (2000)
7) Castello Banfi, Brunello di Montalcino (2000)

The Banfi Brunello and the Vino Nobile are the ones I brought back from Italy. Anyway, my basic questions are:

1) Which are the best wines in my collection? (I did a quick online search and it looks like the Amarone might be the most valuable).
2) Which wines are ready to drink now?
3) Which wines should be left to age and for how long?
4) I have some family visiting this weekend and would like to crack open one of the Brunellos, which one should it be?
5) Any other comments/suggestions.

Thanks.
Original Post
The Amarone is your best wine. It can be drunk now or in 15 years. Open the Gavi & 1998 Argiano or 2000 Banfi for your friends. They will be the "most ready". I hope they like Chianti, since the Amarone may be an acquired taste. I'd drink the Brunellos by 2010(presuming proper storage).

Learn which vintages, in which areas are the best for that year(1997, 1999 & 2001 were better years than 1998 & 2000 for Brunello-that's why they were cheaper. Buy $20-25 Rosso di Montalcino in those years as they are much better, IMO, than $25-40 Chianti). 2005 looks like a great year for all of Europe. Also buy Spanish & French ($10-15 for current drinking; $20-35 for the future). When you get to 100 bottles, double the price of these bottles. And only buy 3-4 bottles, not cases, for now. That way, you won't be stuck with a bunch of crap that your palate has moved beyond.
I would disagree about buying rosso di montalcino of the same years as the better brunellos. They would be way past their prime imo. Rossos are best within their first 3-4 years. And don't be afraid of the 98 and 00 brunellos, they can be really good; they just might not hold up as a longevity wine. Also, someone like Banfi and Altesini who chose to make brunello in a supposedly off year know what they are doing, and can craft a terrific wine in a year that others might be struggling.
quote:

1) Which are the best wines in my collection? (I did a quick online search and it looks like the Amarone might be the most valuable).


If I can offer a somewhat contrarian point of view here, I would say that the "best wines" in your collection are not the ones that are most valuable, received the highest rating, etc.

The best wines are the ones you enjoy drinking the most. The Amarone is probably stunning in the eyes (or palates) of many people, but if you don't like it...it's not your best wine.

It's like WS editor Harvey Steiman puts it: Drink what you like and keep trying new things. All the rest is commentary. (Including my observations.)
Try this Italian. Fab.

Sette Ponti Score: 93

Wine: Toscana Poggio al Lupo 2003 Price: $55
Country: Italy
Region: Tuscany
Issue: Oct 31, 2005


Lots of earth, prune and sweet tobacco character. Full-bodied, with chewy tannins. Violets and sweet fruit. Just a hint of cardamom on the finish. This is a stylish and multidimensional wine. Best after 2006. 1,080 cases made.

Sorrisi Viola!!!

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