We drank a lot of wine in Italy. Italian wine. Big mouthfilling reds and crisp Calabrian whites. But one of the most lasting wine pleasures we discovered was Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, a wine I had never heard of before spending a few weeks in Abruzzo.
So last week my brother, Glenn, forwarded me an email from a wine store, touting “a true gem of a wine” in Fantini’s 2012 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. The email claims a wine score of 90 for it, though my online research turns up 85 or 87. Am I concerned? Naaa. I’m gonna go look for some of this, which is available from several places at about $10 a bottle, and I’m gonna bring it home, and I’m gonna cook up some pasta with sauce that includes zucchini (because I am overloaded with it right now). Then I’ll pour a couple of big red glasses of that stuff.
I’ll be wishing my brother was here to enjoy it, like we did in Sulmona in 2004 at the Cantina di Biffi. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo has become my go-to red since then.
Readers, please share your best Italian wine experience in the comments. What made it special?
I’m Abruzzese and I would say Montepulciano d’Abruzzo as a red wine and Pecorino grape as a white one…there are very interesting grapes in Abruzzo that really deserve a taste! Nice to meet you! :) Maple
I’m not familiar with Pecorino grape wine–is it exported? I’d love to try it! Any brand advice is welcome.
I believe so, I found it in Canada.
I will look for it when I get home–I am in Ukraine right now, teaching English for a couple of weeks. But flying home Wednesday.
Lovely! Have a nice stay!
Thank you Sandy for providing the memory of that great experience in Sulmona! Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is also my go to red. I’m in Rome this week, and had a great meal with a Pinot Nero last night that was pretty good too. Much lighter red, but my first time trying. Some day I’ll learn more about wine, once my task with scotch is complete :)
I love you,
In Abruzzo last year I discovered two new varieties, the Cerasuolo which is a rose made from the Montepulciano grape. and a Pecorino – totally drinkable, clean, fresh perfect with seafood…
Both worth hunting down. Cantina Tollo near Chieti, has fine examples of both!
I LOVED Montepulciano, the town, and visiting the winery there. In fact–we even had a case of their wine mailed home to Tennessee–and now, they send us a Christmas card:) Would enjoy going back.
I agree that the town of Montepulciano is lovely. but there is often confusion between the town and the grape of the same name. Most of the grapes around Montepulciano are the Sangiovese grape. This article explains it well: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montepulciano_(grape)
Thanks for the clarification, MLT!!
While living and traveling in Italy, I’d have to say we never met a wine we didn’t like. :-) We have favorites from many regions, but my favorite wine memory is from the time we lived in Italy. On most Wednesdays the 4 other American wives, whose husbands were working on the same project as my husband, would meet at my house for lunch for what we called our “Stitch and Bitch” day. Everyone would bring a project to work on and we took turns providing lunch. We met at my house because I was the only one who had small children. One day our gardener (who came with the house rental) showed up with a big jug of his homemade wine. We decided it would be a nice addition to lunch and Wednesdays were never the same. We didn’t get many projects finished, but the day always included wine and a nap!
My husband also loves his wine …. especially big, leggy red wines. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is one of his go-to wines and he always has several on hand.
Me? … I’m more of a martini girl ;)
I grew up with martini drinkers–and bad Chianti!! I remember the sour stuff in those basket-bottles when I was growing up in Alaska. Maybe it had been stored improperly, or was just the worst of the cheap stuff to begin with–but I avoided Chianti for a long time. So I was shocked at the wonderful Chianti I found in Italy. Still, M d’A is my fave in red. :)
Me too!! I didn’t realize there was good chianti until I went to Italy the first time. Sometimes I think the Europeans only export their cheap stuff that they won’t drink. :)