|Vino Nobile di Montepulciano are Sangiovese-based reds that are frequently|
delicious, sometimes long-lived, and usually cheaper than wines from nearby regions
If you’re relatively new to Italian wines, here’s the deal. The wine, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, is an appellation in southern Tuscany that is based around the city of Montepulciano. These wines are made from Sangiovese (a local clone called Prugnolo Gentile).
The grape, Montepulciano, is not from Tuscany, but it is widely planted in its native Abruzzo region, a vast area that spreads from the Adriatic coast to some rugged inland mountains. Wines from this region are bottled under the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo denomination of origin.
I recently spent an afternoon with representatives from two wineries, one from Montepulciano (the place) and one who produces Montepulciano (the grape) d'Abruzzo. Andrea Di Properzio was touring the East Coast to promote his Abruzzo employer, La Valentina, and David Redondi was representing Poliziano, a producer of respected Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
I’ve written in the past about the high quality to price ratio of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wines, and that is certainly the case with Poliziano. This well-known estate dates back to 1961, when Dino Carletti purchased about 50 acres in Montepulciano. Carletti named his winery after the 15th Century humanist poet Angelo Ambrogini, known as Il Poliziano, who was born there. Dino's son Federico now runs the winery, which has expanded and now holds about 300 acres, including some sites further west, toward the coast, in the Maremma and Cortona appellations.
La Valentina is doing some really cool things with the Montepulciano grape in the Adriatic coastal areas of Abruzzo. This winery is located in Spoltore, a village near the central coast of this region. All La Valentina grapes are estate grown, and all the reds are made from Montepulciano. This producer’s lineup is a great window to understanding this grape. They bottle several interpretations, sourced from different vineyards and produced in different ways, from the light and easy-drinking entry-level wine to the massive, heady Binomio. La Valentina really is an ambassador for the Montepulciano grape.
Below, I’ve pasted my notes from a lovely tasting.
2015 Fattoria La Valentina Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo - Italy, Abruzzi, Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo
This rose of Montepulciano has a very floral nose, lots of strawberries and peaches. Pure and vibrant but some impressive body and creamy texture. Bright but plenty fruity, fresh cut peaches and wild strawberries topped with some sea breeze and white flowers. Lovely stuff, especially for the price. (87 points)
2013 Fattoria La Valentina Montepulciano d'Abruzzo - Italy, Abruzzi, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo
Fresh, juicy, pure and berry-driven aromas. Fresh black cherries and raspberries on the nose with a slightly chewy but velvety mouthfeel. Nice spice accents, this is approachable and fresh but not too simple. All estate fruit aged in cement, stainless steel and 20% oak. This is a new release, as the wine is aged 18 months in bottle. (86 points)
2014 Poliziano Rosso di Montepulciano - Italy, Tuscany, Montepulciano, Rosso di Montepulciano
Fresh and vibrant aromas, bright roses and cherries. Soft and fleshy on the palate with bright cherries and strawberries. Simple, fresh, a perfect value-driven lunch red. Fermented in stainless steel and aged mostly in cement with 30% French oak. Includes 20% Merlot. (86 points)
|Poliziano's crown jewel is the Asinone vineyard. Credit: Poliziano|