One of my favorite Italian wines is without a doubt, Montepulciano D’Abruzzo. That is to say, it’s the Montepulciano grape, made in the region of Abruzzo. Don’t confuse it with Vino Nobile de Montepulciano from Tuscany, which is Sangiovese-based. The region of Abruzzo is centrally located on the Aegean (Eastern) coast of Italy nestled between Marche, Lazio and Molise. This is a wine that is not known for being especially age-worthy, or usually terribly complex. Some do age it, but it doesn’t really develop that much. It’s typically enjoyed young and is rich, spicy, ripe and bright. And that is why I love it. It is a quality wine, and a quality grape.
Save for Pescara and Teramo in the north, most Montepulciano’s are DOC-level wines. I’m good with that. I don’t have to break the bank, and I am as happy with it at a Trattoria accompanying a bowl of Carbonara as I am at home with one of my own concoctions. Its copious fruit means I can also enjoy it on its own. They pack a lot of flavor value per dollar.
This is one I find at my local shop, and quite concidentily I saw a magnum of it proudly displayed as decoration at a local trattoria today. It is an attractive bottle, from its hand-written font, uneven-cut pleated paper, and straw ribbon tied to the neck with a stick. What is this a stick of, and I wonder is there any significance to it other than decoration?
The nose speaks of cherry, smoke, spice and a little black olive. Even a bit of tea now that I give it another whiff. On the palette is pronounced ripe plum and cherry and more spice, with bright but well-integrated acidity, and a medium body and finish. This is an estate-bottled Riserva, which indicates it is vinified and bottled on the same property the grapes are grown, and aged longer in oak though the oak too is well-integrated and fairly neutral. You can also see the age in the color of the wine, as its moving towards garnet on the rim. While DOC Montepulciano does not often see aging to the point that it can be labelled a Riserva, it certainly adds some nuance. And this is still in a weeknight wine budget. It was delicious with my sausage ravioli and pesto. It fits a rich white sauce as well as a red. I paid $14.99. You can probably find it for less. ABV is 13%. A very enjoyable wine! Can anyone tell me what “dal Tralcetto” means? I had a hard time finding the answer to that question online.