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Valle Reale San Calisto Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2005
San Calisto is Valle Reale's flagship wine. This muscular yet refined wine is made from 100% Montepulciano grown in the San Calisto parcel, the oldest plot in the Valle Reale estate. Located within one of Italy's most beautiful national parks, and surrounded by the Gran Sasso mountain range. This unique vineyard benefits from the high elevation, a wide diurnal temperature range, lots of cool, breezy ventilation and limestone rich soils.
Deep, ruby-red in color, San Calisto offers layered aromas of ripe blackberries and crushed black cherries, followed by spicy notes of cassis, leather and dried herbs. Its excellent structure is perfectly complimented by a silky, rich mouthfeel and a long, persistent finish. San Calisto is excellent with sharp cheeses, barbecued ribs, lamb, filet mignon or steak au poivre.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Valle Reale is one of my favorite properties in Abruzzo. These rugged terrains located inside one of Italy’s national parks routinely yield wines of notable character. Consulting oenologist Carlo Ferrini oversees wine making.
Valle Reale possesses all of the natural elements conducive to the production of great wine. There is an abundance of water, proximity to the sea and the benefits of a maritime climate, ample sunshine and mineral rich soils.
The Pizzolo family together with Leonardo Valenti have striven to produce a model of central Italian wine: strength, exuberance, vitality, Mediterranean color, elegance, balance and depth. They are working exclusively with the Montepulciano varietal and seek to highlight the grape's intrinsic qualities in both the young, vibrant base wine as well as the cru San Calisto which they hope will offer critics and consumers alike a new benchmark for Montepulciano d'Abruzzo.
An extensive appellation producing a diverse selection of good-quality, value-priced wines, Languedoc-Roussillon is the world’s largest wine-producing region, spanning the Mediterranean coast from the Spanish border to Provence. Languedoc forms the eastern half of the larger appellation, while Roussillon is in the west; the two actually have quite distinct personalities but are typically grouped together. Languedoc’s terrain is generally flat coastal plains, with a warm Mediterranean climate and a frequent risk of drought. Roussillon, on the other hand, is defined by the rugged Pyrenees mountains and near-constant sunshine.
Virtually every style of wine is made in this expansive region. Dry wines are often blends, and varietal choice is strongly influenced by the neighboring Rhône valley. For reds and rosés, the primary grapes include Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre. White varieties include Grenache Blanc, Muscat, Ugni Blanc, Vermentino, Maccabéo, Clairette, Piquepoul and Bourbelenc. International varieties are also planted in large numbers here, in particular Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In Roussillon, excellent sweet wines are made from Muscat and Grenache in Rivesaltes, Banyuls and Maury. The key region for sparkling wines here is Limoux, where Blanquette de Limoux is believed to have been the first sparkling wine made in France, even before Champagne. Crémant de Limoux is produced in a more modern style.
Full-bodied but light in both color and tannin, Grenache loves the sun. It thrives in hot climates where it can easily achieve full ripeness. Grenache is best known in the Southern Rhône, where its plush texture and ample alcohol are tamed by savory Syrah and structured Mourvèdre, most notably in Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Grenache originates in Spain, where it is known as Garnacha and is important throughout the country, particularly in Rioja, where it is blended with the more austere Tempranillo, and in Priorat in tandem with savory Cariñena (Carignan). It is also responsible for dry, fruity rosés in Navarra. In Sardinia, the variety is known as Cannonau and produces bold, rustic reds. In California, Grenache has achieved popularity both flying solo and playing a supporting role in Rhône-style blends.
In the Glass
In sufficiently warm conditions, Grenache produces smooth and generous wines that are loaded with red fruit flavors ranging from strawberry to cherry to dark berry. Richer examples can also show plum, chocolate, and licorice.
Despite its bold flavors, Grenache has very mild-mannered tannins, which makes it eminently quaffable on its own, yet easy to match with food. With its uncomplicated, friendly nature, Grenache is the ultimate barbecue red, pairing happily with lamb loin chops or spicy Italian sausages. Unlike most other full-bodied reds, Grenache’s low tannin level ensures that it will not be fazed by a good chili kick.
Sardinia’s Cannonau is often revered for its association with a long, healthy life. Residents of the Italian island often live well into their 90s and beyond, and they credit this antioxidant-rich wine—along with their healthy Mediterranean diet—for their impressive longevity.