Cantina Zaccagnini’s Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is as popular in New York as it is back home in Abruzzo. Walk into any wine shop and ask for something from this region of Italy and I guarantee you that eight out of ten shops will have the Zaccagnini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, and more than likely it will be the 2006 vintage.
A beautiful wine any time, this medium-bodied red was bright in colour with slight interpositions of garnet: a rather attractive wine just to stare at! The first sip I must admit took me by surprise because while I expected it to be fruit forward, the initial taste was a large bouquet of strawberry, raspberry, and sweet plum. While I have to admit I was taken aback by this berry burst of sorts, I decided to let it sit for a few minutes and see what happened.
This Montepulciano d’Abruzzo opens up nicely and once it is truly ready to drink it is supremely balanced. While the fruit will always remain on the front of the palate—a tell tale characteristic of this kind of wine—there are some wonderful earthy notes to its finish. There are some nice wood and solid tanins here, and with the right pairings some of the otherwise slight smokiness and light spice do come through. Another impressive trait here is the wine’s consistency: it will not fight you and it is wonderfully pleasant whether you are eating something
or just sipping.
As far as pairings are concerned I love it with more delicate meats and foods that will help accentuate the wine’s more earthy finish. It worked rather well with a small antipasto of semolina bread, a young pecorino and bresaola, since the beef being slightly thicker than your average carpaccio provided just enough flavour on the tongue. To follow, the Zaccagnini worked beautifully with some sautéed veal cutlets and broccoli di rape with golden raisins and crushed hot pepper. (A rather Abruzzese meal if I do say so myself!) The spicy and sweet from the rapini and the earthiness of the veal made for a perfect interplay.
Just as it would be for any wine varietal, one can spend a lot of money or choose to spend a little. The Zaccagnini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a great value locally at $14.99USD/£10.90/€9.00 and it can definitely stand up to the more expensive Montepulciano d’Abruzzos out there for $60.00USD or more. This is definitely one of those situations where if you can, stock up on this wine; even if you do not want to buy a case, you can feel better about saving some money with a few bottles and taking your leftover change and splurging on more cheese and meat!