The day is upon us, actually the day I’m talking about is tomorrow. What day? The day Pass The Bottle goes to Italy! In honor of such a momentous event I am featuring yet another Italian wine for Bottle of The Week. Surprised? I didn’t think so. What better wine to feature on such a week than the Montepulciano? It is one of the most widely cultivated, indigenous, grapes in Italy. There is a very lengthy list of DOCs and DOCGs that include the Montepulciano grape, but today we’ll focus on the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC. Most of the wines from this DOC, this bottle included, are dry, medium bodied wines with lighter tannins and intended to be consumed young. As is the case with all DOCs, this one has specific requirements which need to be met in order for the wine to earn the label. It must contain a minimum of 85% Montepulciano grape,and can contain up to 15% Sangiovese.
Montepulciano, like some Sangiovese wines, tends to have the reputation of being a “pizza-wine”. When you hear a wine referred to like that it means basically that the wine is good, and usually lower in price range, but you might not drink it alone. There are also certain characteristics of wines that complement tomato flavors particularly well, like high acidity and fruit forward flavors. Tomatoes tend to have high acidity as well, so pairing them with a wine that complements that is a good idea. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the wine is sub-par and should only be enjoyed with a $5 hot and ready pizza, so don’t be immediately turned off if someone refers to a wine as a “pizza-wine”.
The La Quercia Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, 2014, is a typical representation of the DOC, although it happens to be made up of 100% Montepulciano grapes. The wine is produced by a smaller winemaker, Antonio Lamona, and is made with all organic grapes (for all you Whole Foods frequenters)! It is not aged very long at all, and is fermented in stainless steel tanks. The medium-bodied red is a bright ruby color, lighter on the palate, fruit forward with notes of cherry, raspberry, and some earthy spice. Overall I thought it was a good, decent wine. I was at a restaurant when I ordered the bottle, so It was a bit overpriced there, however, after looking up the price online, I came to the conclusion that for $13 it is well worth the price. Thus I give it an 8.9 out of 10, would drink again.