Fall is kicking into high gear, which means “so long” to the quaffable, light whites you enjoyed in the summer and “hello” to the comforting, warm reds you reach for on those rainy autumn nights. From what I can tell during my days at the shop, many of you are already trading lighter meals for pastas, casseroles and stews. With that in mind, this week, let me introduce you to one of Italia’s greatest exports (and hidden values): montepulciano d’Abruzzo.
This rustic, delicious red provides more bang for the buck on any shelf. It’s not uncommon to find thin, hollow Chiantis (jugs, anyone?), but with montepulciano d’Abruzzi, you’ve got a consistently tasty deal. Made from the montepulciano varietal, it is a solidly built wine with an amazing velvety texture and thick, dark fruit flavors. Thinking of cooking Italian tonight? Grab a montepulciano d’Abruzzo and you can’t go wrong.
Valle Reale, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2010: Located in the heart of Abruzzi, Valle Reale abuts two national parks, tapping into an otherwise uncontaminated terroir rife with history, wildlife and the perfect conditions for this ancient varietal. Valle Reale is expressively bright, with balanced acidity, tasty black cherries and hints of wood, thyme and herbs.
Cantina Zaccagnini, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2009 (photo above): This vino has an intense ruby red color, expressing full-bodied and robust fruit notes. It is well-balanced with tannin, having aged four months in oak barrel. A luxuriously plush montepulciano if we ever tasted one, this particular bottle will pair with just about anything you pair it with, from braised beef to simple spaghetti and meatballs.
Il Faggio, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2011: Priced to be an “everyday” wine, Il Faggio shouldn’t be mistaken for something run of the mill. Possesses spicy fruit on the nose and a robust, rounded palate of silky, juicy cherry with hints of coffee and chocolate. When pairing, you can’t go wrong with pizza.