Diving Back In to Montepulciano

After my last post on Montepulciano, Tasters A and B of Smells Like a Grape were quick to email me and assure me that there are excellent Montepulcianos out there, as they had just done an enormous tasting of them. Little did they know that I rarely (if ever) fully fall off the horse with a wine grape and will almost always give it another shot. As I had already done with the Montepulciano, with much more success.

The bottle was a 2005 Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. It has a real cork closure, clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume, and ran me around $15 at MV Wine and Spirit in Madison, CT.

On the nose I found spice, leather, raspberries, oak, red currants, a little saddle room, and eucalyptus. In the mouth I found raspberries, eucalyptus, and leather. The wine was a lot lighter in the mouth than I had anticipated based on the color and nose, and had the bitter element I have come to expect from Italian varietals.

This bottle definitely leads me to believe that my previous bottle of Montepulciano must have been flawed in some way, either it was too old or perhaps it got cooked along the way.

Some Montepulciano

The wine was a 2004 La Valentina Montepulciano D’Abruzzo (Sheesh, these Italian varietals are often a mouthful!). It clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and cost around $13 at MV Wine and Spirit in Madison, CT.

An unforgiving nose on this one. Some barnyard funk (not in a good way) when I opened the bottle that eventually blew off, but underneath that, there was not much there. Maybe some spice, oak, and currants. In the mouth, the wine was flat, I’m wondering if it was past its prime. I got some indistinguishable dark fruit, spice, but overall it seemed hollow. After a few hours, I found some dark cherry and raspberries, and the wine had finally started to open up. I found it to be terribly bitter and tannic at the beginning, but that gave way a bit as the hours passed (my mom and I drank this bottle and it literally took over 4 hours for us to get through it).

I’m not sure if the wine was too young or too old, but something wasn’t quite right here.

I warned you about the Italian Reds

We picked up this bottle of Girone Dei Folli 2003 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo from Villa Bizzarri at the Winery in Old Town Alexandria as part of a mixed case. It clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume, had a real cork, and cost us $12.99 minus a 10% case discount.

On the nose I found what can only be described as a mist of Vick’s cherry cough syrup, bitter espresso (though I suppose “bitter espresso” is kind of an oxymoron), leather, and Eucalyptus. Overall, I found the nose to have a slightly medicinal quality. In the mouth flavors of tart cherries dominated, with hints of the same cherry Vick’s cough syrup, and a little bit of spice. The wine was very dark, and reminiscent of Negroamara, but with different qualities. It was more herbal and medicinal than the Negroamara, but that’s the closest thing I can compare it to.

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