This article was published in The 30 Second Wine Advisor on Wednesday, Sep. 12, 2007 and can be found at http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor2/tswa20070912.php.
Montepulciano high and low
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano ("The Noble Wine of Montepulciano") is named for the ancient Tuscan village that the region's vineyards surround. It's an upscale cousin of Chianti made from the same grapes as Chianti (Sangiovese, Canaiolo and others) in a small part of Tuscany close to Umbria near Lake Trasimeno.
The other Montepulciano - usually more affordable if not earning quite as much respect - is made a long way from Tuscany in Abruzzo, on the Adriatic across Italy from Rome. Montepulciano d'Abruzzo is named for the grape from which the wine is made, sharing a name but having nothing else to do with the Tuscan village or its wine.
Montepulciano d'Abruzzo generally sells in the U.S. for $12 or less, in my experience, and often for well under $10; only a few sought-after, artisanal producers can command much more. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, on the other hand, is rarely found below the middle to upper teens and often sells for $20 or more.
For today's tasting, we compare and contrast a low-end Montepulciano d'Abruzzo from Farnese, a mass-market producer, against a higher-price artisanal bottling from Bruno Nicodemi that costs well over twice the toll.
Would the inexpensive wine prove to be a bargain value? Or would the higher price justify itself in quality? After sampling the wines separately, rated both by themselves and with similar red-meat food matches, I'd judge both wines enjoyable and appropriately priced. In this particular instance - it doesn't always work out this way - I'd rather have one bottle of the complex, structured and interesting Nicodemi than two bottles of the relatively thin, tart and rough-textured Farnese.
A message from WineLibrary.com
You may have seen us featured in GQ magazine, The Wall Street Journal, New Jersey Monthly and elsewhere. WineLibrary.com features a huge collection of top wines from around the world, great gifts and accessories, a daily video blog (WineLibraryTV), huge selection of futures (including red hot 2005 Bordeaux at incredible pricing) and much, much more!
Search our quick loading/high speed database of the hottest new wines from California, France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Germany, Austria, South America and more. Join our e-mail service and get an early heads up when wines like Bryant, Harlan, Dominus and others arrive!
Bottom line, we offer the lowest prices, the largest selection, lightning fast shipments and the greatest customer service in the industry! WineLibrary.com is your one-stop shop for everything wine ... so what are you waiting for? Log on to WineLibrary.com today!
For those of you in the NY/NJ area, grab your tickets to the 2007 Super Tasting today! Click this link for full details!
Sample over 700 wines from around the world ... all for one low price of admission! Just $85 per ticket!
Nicodemi 2003 "Dei Colli Venia" Montepulciano d'Abruzzo ($19)
Inky dark garnet, almost black. Black plums, leather and subtle spice. Mouth-filling and ripe, flavors follow the nose; full, juicy black fruit, pleasant earthy undertones, mouth-watering acidity and a soft edge of tannins. Structured and appealing, hefty but not overwhelming or hot at a rational 13.5% alcohol. U.S. importer: North Berkeley Imports, Berkeley, Calif. (Sept. 10, 2007)
FOOD MATCH: Excellent with pepper-crusted, medium-rare pan-seared rib eyes garnished with fresh chopped tomatoes.
VALUE: Complexity and flavor interest justify a price close to the top end for Montepulciano d'Abruzzo.
WHEN TO DRINK: Montepulciano d'Abruzzo of this structure and quality is capable of improving for a decade or more under very good cellar conditions, but it's certainly enjoyable now.
WEB LINK: The importer's Website features this short article about Bruno Nicodemi, with links to several of his wines including the 2003 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo.
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Farnese 2005 "Farneto Valley" Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Colline Teramane ($8.49)
Black plums and pepper flirt with a distinct leafy, sappy green edge in the aroma; on the palate it's light and quite tart, simple black fruit with an acidic edge that brings it up to meet food. On the simple side, some might call it "coarse," but it's the kind of fun and food-friendly cheap Italian red that takes me back a long way in memoryland. U.S. importer: Empson (U.S.A.) Inc., Alexandria, Va. (Sept. 6, 2007)
FOOD MATCH: The wine's rustic, acidic flavor profile makes it a natural with medium-rare rib eye steaks.
VALUE: Quaffable if hardly inspiring, it's fairly priced in this low-end niche.
WHEN TO DRINK: A wine meant to be enjoyed, not aged, it's best to drink it up over the next year or two.
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Talk About Wine Online
If you have questions, comments or ideas to share about today's article
Everyone is free to browse. If you'd like to post a comment, question or reply, you must register, but registration is free and easy. Do take care to register using your real name, or as a minimum, your real first name and last initial. Anonymous registrations are quietly discarded.
To contact me by E-mail, write firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll respond personally to the extent that time and volume permit.
PRINT OUT TODAY'S ARTICLE