Selections for September 2017

For Rich D. – and the rest of you.

2012 PASSETI ‘Tenutarossa’ – Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Italy

Here is our millionth lesson on the name “Montepulciano.” 

In one part of Italy “Montepulciano” is a wine region.  This “Montepulciano” lies within Tuscany, not far from Montalcino, and the Sangiovese grape plays the starring role in the wines.  In another part of Italy, well away from Tuscany, “Montepulciano” is a GRAPE.  “Montepulciano d’Abruzzo” refers to that grape as made in Abruzzo near the Adriatic Sea. 

The two could not be more unalike.

This is the latter; the GRAPE “Montepulciano”.  Like all Italian reds, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is designed to make you hungry and to be resolved by a great meal.  That’s the Italian wine culture, don’cha know?  MOST Italian reds make you hungry with their zesty acidity.  Montepulciano does it another way, with another  effect of “resistance”:  Tannins.  

We’ve come to the conclusion that while Italy has better-known wines than Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, THIS resonates with many of our customers more familiar with tannins than acids as a backbone for their reds.  Consider Napa Valley or Washington State Cabernet:  Tannins!  Nice chewy tannins invoking a visit to the grill with a big, sloppy-fat ribeye!  So, I’m just telling you:  You’re supposed to like this!!!

Give it some time, some air, some food, a stock-up-with-more purchase  . . .

2014 COLLAZZI – Toscana, Italy

Some of the best wines grown in the Chianti region are not  Sangiovese-based.  In fact, some totally omit Tuscany’s most famous grape yet still somehow retain that oh-so-Italian quality of generous restraint – or restraining generosity – with a sense of iron and dust and just the right amount of food-loving grip.  Those we must call “Super Tuscans,” though that’s not an administered or enforced term.  A Super Tuscan might be $20 or $400, but it’s always from Tuscany along with one reason or another why it can’t be called something more legislated (“Thank goodness!” cries the freedom lover).

Here is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc, 21% Merlot, and 4% Petit Verdot as grown just a few miles south of Florence itself.  The wine is young, but with some airing out you’ll realize, “Did I open this too soon?  Should I just go back to The Wine Steward for six more bottles?” 

Now you’re thinkin’!!  Why wouldn’t you want to witness the unwinding of this great and ageworthy bottle via at least six different experiences over the next ten years – especially at this nice price????       

This is meant to cost more, but you equip us with buying power and we thank you for that.