Similar experiences here though I has less luck in the $20's with the eyetals. Wholesale on the Du Croppio is around $20 so... I imported 6 wheels of Pecorino di Crotone for the pairing and together they are
Don't get me wrong- Italy is by far my favorite choice for wines but I still think Spain may be, collectively, the best values across the board. I find much in the $20's from Spain that is excellent and much less-so with Italian - though still great value.I am pouring a Rosenthal import from Calabria tomorrow night that totally has me Du Croppio “Serra Sanguigna” 70% Gaglioppo, 15% Malvasia Nera 15% Greco Nero.
The presence of St. Croix leads me to believe that you have the same issue we have here in Minnesota- very short and highly inconsistent growing seasons. Which lead to (very) sweet wines more often than not.
Got to compare a bottle of 2005 Malvira San Michele to the new 2011. The interest being the 05 was 100 year old vine - which were torn up and replanted. The 11 is the first of the new vines. And you can still find much that is similar in the profile of each. Terroir FTW.