Central Italy- the top 2 grapes

Italian_southernredsbacklabel

The two most widely grown red grapes of Italy are:

#1 Sangiovese– mostly grown  in central Italy (Tuscany, Emilia Romania).

#2 Montepulciano– mostly grown on the Adriatic Coast (Abruzzo, Apulia, Marche).

The wines selected to showcase their differences, similarites:

2010 Scopone L’Olivare – This wine is a bit on the modern side (produced in smaller barrels with shorter maceration which produces an earlier drinking wine).

Sangiovese is a high acid grape with what some call “gravely” tannins. The name translates to “blood of Jove” and many believe it’s highest expression comes from the specific Brunello clone isolated by Clemente Santi (Biondi Santi ancestor).

It has red fruit flavors along with distinctive flavors of orange peel, tomato leaf and balsamic. The more “serious” Sangiovese wines that are made for aging have pronounced earthy qualities as well.

Brunello di Montalcino, by law is 100% Sangiovese. 2010 is a phenomenal vintage and prices are reasonable but they will need some time to develop. If you want to drink now decant for a few hours beforehand.

2009 Umanchi Ronchi, Cumaro, Rosso Conero– Umani Ronch is a fairly new winery owned by the a Bianchi-Bernetti since 1959 and Cumaro’s first vintage was 1985. This is 100% Montepulciano fermented with natural yeasts and hand picked.

Montepulciano has some riper red and black fruit flavors like plum and (sour) cherry. The wines can also have a boysenberry flavor which I happily associate with childhood camping trips.

Lower in acidity than Sangiovese the wines are also a little softer and easier to drink, especially Montepulciano d’Abruzzo which I often suggest to the closet Merlot drinkers.

 

 

 

 

WTF…Montepulciano grape, or region?

Another installment of what IS this wine

2010Contucci_VNdMVino Nobile di Montepulciano is produced in Tuscany, around the town of Montepulciano. The wine name translates into “Noble wine of Montepulciano”.  Since the most noble red grape in this region is Sangiovese (called Prunolo Gentile here) the wines are a traditional blend of mostly Sangiovese. The grapes must make up at least 60–80 percent of the final wine, and may be complemented by Canaiolo (10–20 percent) and other local varieties permitted in the province of Siena, including the rare, violet-scented Mammolo (Sciacarello). This wine is 80% Prugnolo Gentile, 10% Canaiolo Nero, 10% Colorino. Purchased on WTSO for $20.

Some have described Vino Nobile as having the perfume of Chianti Classico’s with the richness of Brunello di Montalcino. This is a great description for this wine.

Montepulciano is also the name of a grape which is primarily grown on the eastern shore of Italy in Abruzzo (Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOCG) and Marche (Conero, Rosso Conero, Offida).

Both Montepulciano and Sangiovese make excellent wines but they are very different.

Further information:

proper pronunciation for Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

a thorough article on the Montepulciano grape.

 

The Best Margherita Pizza- “Secret” Recipe

Living in New York we are very fortunate to have an excellent selection of places to enjoy food and wine. Recently I had some delicious (Neapolitan) pizza-click on the photo for NYC location. Not everyone is as lucky, so I am passing along a “secret” recipe for Margherita Pizza that you can try to perfect at home.

Prego (Italian for “You’re welcome!”)


Some wines that are great with Margherita Pizza (Tolerant Taster approved):

Barbera (d’Asti or d’Alba):

Vietti- Tre Vigne– around $20 and delicious.

Michel Chiarlo– around $10 and pretty easy to find anywhere.

Montepulciano

Masciarelli– under $10 !

Fattoria Le Terrazze (Rosso Conero)- under $20-if you can find it.

good Chianti (doesn’t need to be expensive)-

Monteraponi– harder to find but classic and delicious. Around $20.

Fattoria Viticcio– under $20 and pretty easy to locate.