Monti Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 1998
Monti is a small estate in the region of Abruzzo. Since its inception, the Monti family winery had been operated by brothers Antonio and Elio until Elio passed away in 2002. The brothers had always been traditionalists in the production of Abruzzo's noble varietal, Montepulciano.
The Monti estate is located near Teranio, approximately 100 miles east of Rome. Here the mix of southern sun and Adriatic winds create prime conditions for the practice of viticulture. They have successfully cultivated the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo grape, a big, berry redolent fruit with moderate in tannin. All Monti wines undergo complete malolactic fermentation and are unfiltered. The red wines are aged in Slavonian oak, but it is bottle aging, not barrel aging that is the key to Montepulciano's greatness.
A warm, Mediterranean vine-growing paradise, in Abruzzo, the distance from mountains to seaside is relatively short. The Apenniness, which run through the center of Italy, rise up on its western side while the Adriatic Sea defines its eastern border.
Wine composition tends to two varieties: Abruzzo’s red grape, Montepulciano and its white, Trebbiano. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo can come in a quaffable, rustic and fruity style that generally drinks best young. It is also capable of making a more serious style, where oak aging tames its purely wild fruit.
Trebbiano in Abruzzo also comes in a couple of varieties. Trebbiano Toscana makes a simple and fruity white. However when meticulously tended, the specific Trebbiano d’Abruzzo-based white wines can be complex and long-lived.
In the region’s efforts to focus on better sites and lower yields, vine acreage has decreased in recent years while quality has increased.
Consistently enticing and enjoyable, Montepulciano enjoys great popularity throughout central and southern Italy and is gaining quite a following in many other parts of the world. Widely prolific in its homeland, Montepulciano is actually the second most planted red variety in Italy after Sangiovese, though it is most associated with the region of Abruzzo where it achieves its highest potential. A tiny bit grows in California, Argentina and Australia as well.
In the Glass
Dark and inky, Montepulciano brims with boysenberry, black plum and juicy tart cherry flavors. Typical aromas come in the form of berry pie, freshly cut Italian herbs, dark chocolate and licorice. It’s a full-bodied wine with fine to rustic tannins.
Historically this variety has been one to inhabit many pizzeria and cafe wine lists throughout central and into southern Italy, offering amazing value for everyday consumption. It is no doubt a perfect complement to a variety of other foods we are used to: barbecued brisket, meatloaf, Shepherd’s Pie and grilled portabella mushrooms. Think of it as the perfect alternative to Syrah, Petite Sirah or Malbec if you’re looking to broaden your horizons.
The wine called Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is actually not to be confused with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Montepulciano is also the name of a village in Tuscany; Sangiovese grows there and is responsible for Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The grape called Montepulciano grows in Abruzzo and makes the wine called Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.