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Robin Garr

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WTN/Wine Advisor: Speaking of Montepulciano

by Robin Garr » Wed Jan 23, 2008 1:31 pm

Speaking of Montepulciano

I recently raved about an unusual Montepulciano, an Italian red wine made in Italy's Marche region for import, distribution and sale by Mosby, a winery in California's Central Coast.

Today let's take a quick trip back to Italy for a look at another wine made from Montepulciano grapes in the variety's more customary home, Abruzzo.

As we've discussed before, Montepulciano is one of Italy's more confusing wine words. Depending on the bottle you have in hand, it may be the name of a grape (as in today's Montepulciano d'Abruzzo or Mosby's Montepulciano Marche Rosso); or it may be the name of a region (as in Tuscany's Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which is made from the Sangiovese grape).

Indeed, if you're not paying close attention, you might confuse either wine with Tuscany's Brunello di Montalcino, a Sangiovese-clone variety that has nothing to do with Montepulciano except a vaguely similar-sounding name.

What they do have in common is a simple but delightful reality: Although there's no close genetic kinship that I know of between the Montepulciano and Sangiovese grapes, a good Montepulciano - like a good Chianti - represents for me the quintessence of Italian red table wines: A happy combination of fruit and tart, food-friendly acidity that invariably makes me smile.

Caldora 2006 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo ($11.99)

Inky blackish-purple with a clear garnet edge. Good, full scent, black plums and subtle earth, a whiff of well-integrated oak. Fresh plums on the palate, nicely balanced by food-friendly acidity and soft tannins. Not overly complex, but might get that way with a few years of careful cellar time. U.S. importer: Vin DiVino Ltd., Chicago. (Jan. 20, 2008)

FOOD MATCH: Any red meat or hearty meat or cheese pasta sauce will work well. It was fine with country-style beef and vegetable soup made with leftover beef short ribs and barley, with fresh baked Pugliese bread.

VALUE: No complaints at this value price, although bargain-seekers may want to shop around, as it's under $10 in some markets.

WHEN TO DRINK: Although lower-price Montepulcianos are meant for drinking, not cellaring, the variety in general ages well. As noted, it could be an interesting experiment to put a few away just to see what happens over three to five years.

PRONUNCIATION:
Montepulciano d'Abruzzo = "Mawn-teh-pool-CHA-noh Dah-BROOT-soh"

WEB LINK:
For a fact sheet about the winery with links to specific wines, see the U.S. importer's Website:
http://www.vindivino.com/showwinery.php?Wid=1153

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Check prices and find vendors for Caldora Montepulciano d'Abruzzo on Wine-Searcher.com:
http://www.wine-searcher.com/find/Caldo ... g_site=WLP

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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Speaking of Montepulciano

by Brian K Miller » Wed Jan 23, 2008 1:42 pm

Thanks, Robin. This is a grape I've not have much experience with- I actually tried a Montepulciano made in California by Carneros' Mahoney Vineyards. Interesting stuff!
...(Humans) are unique in our capacity to construct realities at utter odds with reality. Dogs dream and dolphins imagine, but only humans are deluded. –Jacob Bacharach
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Speaking of Montepulciano

by Bonnie in Holland » Wed Jan 23, 2008 1:49 pm

Farnese's Casale Vecchio Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2006 was our house wine until the store ran out -- ouch! It was 10 euros. Incredibly delicious stuff and great qpr. So count me in as another m d'a fan!! cheers, Bonnie
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Speaking of Montepulciano

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Jan 23, 2008 1:58 pm

Been a while since I opened one of these. This post has created interest here so will take a looksie! Thanks Robin.
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Speaking of Montepulciano

by Martin Barz » Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:54 pm

Robin,

keep your eyes open for the winery Masciarelli with the wines "Villa Gemme" and "Marina Cvetic". Great stuff!

http://www.masciarelli.it/
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Speaking of Montepulciano

by Robin Garr » Wed Jan 23, 2008 4:37 pm

Martin Barz wrote:keep your eyes open for the winery Masciarelli with the wines "Villa Gemme" and "Marina Cvetic". Great stuff!

Martin, thanks! I have enjoyed Masciarelli's Marina Cvetic and agree that it raises the bar for Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. Still, much like basic-level Chianti, I have a soft spot in my heart for even a very modest Montepulciano, as long as it's well-made.
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Speaking of Montepulciano

by Martin Barz » Wed Jan 23, 2008 4:43 pm

Robin, the 01 version of Marina Cvetic was much better like a basic-level Chianti! And the TOP wine "Villa Gemme" is outstanding.
Last edited by Martin Barz on Wed Jan 23, 2008 6:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Speaking of Montepulciano

by Anders Källberg » Wed Jan 23, 2008 6:15 pm

I agree with what Martin has said. Villa Ghemme is definitely the best Montepulciano I've tasted from Abruzzo and it beats most Conero from the Marche too.
Then, Martina Cvetic is a nice woman... I've not met her husband, Signore Masciarelli.

Cheers, Anders
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Speaking of Montepulciano

by Tim York » Wed Jan 23, 2008 6:28 pm

Martin Barz wrote:Robin, the 01 version of Marina Cvetic was much more like basic-level Chianti! And the TOP wine "Villa Gemme" is outstanding.


Martin,

I rate the excellent Marina Cvetic far higher than a basic level Chianti. In fact below Marina Cvetic in Masciarelli's range there is a basic level M d'A costing approx. € 8 here which is very good and which IMHO is more than equal to most basic Chiantis costing a good handful of Euros more.
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Speaking of Montepulciano

by Martin Barz » Wed Jan 23, 2008 6:41 pm

Anders Källberg wrote:I agree with what Martin has said. Villa Ghemme is definitely the best Montepulciano I've tasted from Abruzzo and it beats most Conero from the Marche too.
Then, Martina Cvetic is a nice woman... I've not met her husband, Signore Masciarelli.

Cheers, Anders


Oh yes, Martina is such pretty and charming! I met her in Berlin........
Last edited by Martin Barz on Wed Jan 23, 2008 6:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Speaking of Montepulciano

by Martin Barz » Wed Jan 23, 2008 6:43 pm

Tim York wrote:
Martin Barz wrote:Robin, the 01 version of Marina Cvetic was much more like basic-level Chianti! And the TOP wine "Villa Gemme" is outstanding.


Martin,

I rate the excellent Marina Cvetic far higher than a basic level Chianti. In fact below Marina Cvetic in Masciarelli's range there is a basic level M d'A costing approx. € 8 here which is very good and which IMHO is more than equal to most basic Chiantis costing a good handful of Euros more.


I agree, 01 Marina Cvetic is much better than a basic chianti. I will correct my statement, as it was not quite clear in english.
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Speaking of Montepulciano

by Anders Källberg » Wed Jan 23, 2008 6:47 pm

Martin Barz wrote:Oh yes, Martina is such pretty! I met her in Berlin........

I met her in Abruzzo, even better! :D
And I need to correct myself, her name is indeed Marina
/A
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Speaking of Montepulciano

by Martin Barz » Wed Jan 23, 2008 6:57 pm

I have a photo from her. I will post it later........ :mrgreen:
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Speaking of Montepulciano

by Robin Garr » Wed Jan 23, 2008 7:04 pm

Martin Barz wrote:Robin, the 01 version of Marina Cvetic was much better like a basic-level Chianti! And the TOP wine "Villa Gemme" is outstanding.

Just to clarify, even though I am a native speaker of English, my remark may have been misleading.

I meant to say that Marina Cvetic is a great wine, AND that even a much more modest MdA can be a match for basic Chianti.
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Speaking of Montepulciano

by Martin Barz » Wed Jan 23, 2008 7:16 pm

http://berlinkitchen.com
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Speaking of Montepulciano

by Oliver McCrum » Wed Jan 23, 2008 7:27 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
Martin Barz wrote:Robin, the 01 version of Marina Cvetic was much better like a basic-level Chianti! And the TOP wine "Villa Gemme" is outstanding.

Just to clarify, even though I am a native speaker of English, my remark may have been misleading.

I meant to say that Marina Cvetic is a great wine, AND that even a much more modest MdA can be a match for basic Chianti.


The Piedmontese enologist who hooked me up with the small co-op I work with (I import a wine that I label 'Vallevò') said that the great thing about Montepulciano is that it makes really great inexpensive red wine, way better than Sangiovese. I agree completely with this; although there are famous examples of very serious wines being made from the grape, it does shine at the lower end. (My understanding is that some cheaper Chiantis may be taking advantage of this characteristic...)
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Speaking of Montepulciano

by Peter May » Thu Jan 24, 2008 7:44 am

Oliver McCrum wrote: the great thing about Montepulciano is that it makes really great inexpensive red wine, way better than Sangiovese.


Agree. I buy a lot of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo , mostly the Wine Society's own label which is made for them by Roxan Co-operative.

Its a great match with tomato based pasta dishes.
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Re: WTN/Wine Advisor: Speaking of Montepulciano

by Tim York » Thu Jan 24, 2008 9:58 am

Since I first took an interest in M d'A about two years ago and through the Open Mike, I have tasted quite a few at prices ranging from abut € 3,50 to € 55 and have only had one which I did not like. Interestingly it was the second most expensive - Binomio 2000 from la Valentina - about € 40. I love the less ambitious wines in their range and have hopes that Binomio 2001 will turn out much better than 2000.
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