What can five years living in Abruzzo bring? A deep falling in love with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine perhaps: a red that is made from an absolute minimum of 85% fat & juicy Montepulciano grapes and 15% Sangiovese grape mix that makes a wonderful fruity dry Italian red wine.
It’s a wine of jewels; its grapes are deep purple, their juice being the colour of a pressed ruby. Abruzzo’s soil has a low acidity content and delivers a playful soft violet red wine that is low in tannins and draws upon ever so happy childhood memories…picking blackcurrants, blackberries & raspberries; granny’s sweet but sour plum crumbles, with an adult sprinkling of local liquorice…all contribute to this wine’s character, enlivening it rather than letting it wallow in the tepid backwaters of just-another-red-wine.
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo used to be off the radar as far as any wine collectors were concerned, a cheap and low grade wine that was served with nothing more than pizza at best. But in the last 5 years smaller producers have slowly beaten down and educated the former wine snobs that had formerly miscast this Abruzzo wine as simple peasant wine. 2000 years after the first wine-growers began experimenting with this grape, it has firmly established itself as Italy’s fourth vine, cultivated at no more than 500 masl; its vines do not suffer the insufferable and enjoy summer showers carried from the beautiful Apennine mountains, ensconced in the knowledge that they can spread their vines in one of least populated areas of Europe.
At its most immature Montepulciano d’Abruzzo can be drunk at just five months old without any wood restrictions; by the time it gains its Reserve honours the alcohol content is up to 12% and it has spent 6 months aged in wood. There are some fantastic bio-dynamic growers like Emidio Pepe who forgo the wood, thus the official Reserve title, but no matter as their Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wines have complex flavours that feel they have gathered an entire landscape in, allowing you to breath Abruzzo without any need for artificial wood caskets.
Who’s this Wine Good for?:
Anyone looking for a wine that literally is good drank with everything: I have yet to find something that I cannot enjoy this with. It has to compete against the Abruzzo fiery peperoncino chilli, so rather than fight a dish it helps to embrace it.
Those who have circulation problems – Montepulciano d’Abruzzo has high levels of anti-oxidants and polyphenols that reduce the likelihood of fatty lesions and blood clots.
Listen to the New York Times Wine Columnist, Eric Asimov Montepulciano d’Abruzzo’s wine feature
For wine lovers in the UK read here of where to buy Montepulciano d’Abruzzo at local supermarkets
View our Remains of the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Grape Photograph on The Guardian