2018 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Conte di Castelvecchio

The Notes review of this Montepulciano is overdue, but believe me dear readers you are not missing much in this wine. Yes this is still part of my wistful “there with you in spirit” Italian vibe, but this thinking has had me kissing more frogs than princesses as of late. Notes has covered more than 100 Cabernets (mostly hailing from California) and 110 red blends (ditto) to date, and I’ve become much more adept at picking winners from that AVA than I have from the old world.

Based on an interesting price point and forecasted tasting notes, I selected from an online provider this 2018 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, from Conte di Castelvecchio in Montepulciano, Italy. It’s not so amazing, and it leaves me wanting for a better class of Italian red…something as delightful as the Amarone recently reviewed here.

2018 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Conte di Castelvecchio, Montepulciano, Italy.

Yes, I fully realize it’s not just to compare this (mass production?) Montepulciano to an Amarone, but life’s too short to drink bad wine. This Montepulciano became a fast “weeknight” dinner beverage instead of a staple that you look forward to in a weekend bottle.

The 2018 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo has cherry at its base structure, but it’s a thin and underdeveloped cherry at that. It has a ribbon of smoke running through it, but really tastes so immature that I was disappointed in my selection. There’s really not that much to be said for this wine, so I’ll cut the review short. Hoping you’re enjoying your quarantine and staying safe!

2013 Feudi del Duca Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

The Montepulciano grape is the heart of this 2013 Italian red, which drew me in through its interesting label design and logo. Okay, that plus its price. The 2013 Feudi del Duca Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is very affordable and offers some interesting charm that includes its deep ruby color and a pleasing aroma. You get ample doses of black cherry fruit and a hint of spice…I describe as earthy and kind of graphite-based?

2013 Feudi del Duca Montepulciano d'Abruzzo

2013 Feudi del Duca Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Italy.

The photo, taken from a cramped hotel room, is not one of the best you’ll find on Notes. Hopefully you can make out enough of its black and red shimmering seal to help you locate it among your local spirits and wines. The 2013 hails from Abruzzo, Italy, and is very drinkable. I sampled from this bottle over the course of several nights this week. It complemented various road meals that are not worth including; suffice it to say the Montepulciano was the highlight each time.

The 2013 Feudi del Duca Montepulciano d’Abruzzo was serviceable and had an easy finish but I feel that I’ve covered off on this wine; no real imperative to revisit in particular but better than others of similar price point (~$10).

2010 Masciarelli Montepulciano de’Abruzzo

Anyone who knows me or my tastes know that I more often frequent the vineyards of the US west coast than South America or Europe.  When straying from this path, however, I’m often pleased–whether sampling a power-packed Bordeaux or, in this case, a delicious Montepulciano from the Abruzzo region of Italy.  This my mother opened as part of a fun Mother’s Day celebration.  It started us off while we sampled bacon-wrapped scallops, mini-crab cakes, and other sundry treats, and it stayed with us (me in particular) during dinner and dessert.

2010 Masciarelli Montepulciano de'Abruzzo, Italy.

2010 Masciarelli Montepulciano de’Abruzzo, Italy.

The Masciarelli was paired with broiled swordfish, covered in a grape jelly and barbecue sauce, and grilled asparagus and risotto.  Not quite the way you’d draw up the game plan for a soft red, but it seemed to go well–as demonstrated by the empty bottle at the evening’s end.  It is supposed to be “one of Italy’s most famous wines…a classic, well-rounded, plumb-scented Italian red made from Montepulciano grapes grown in the Abruzzo region on Italy’s Adriatic coast.”  That description carries with it an ethereal quality that I think I found in the wine itself.

Great to celebrate the occasion with my mother and such an adventurous bit of vino.  Not soon to forget either!

2011 Zonin Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

The 2011 Zonin Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, a dry Italian red wine, was opened to welcome us from our NJ home to my mother’s place in Rochester, NY.  She had enjoyed courtesy of a work colleague and had a bottle uncorked and ready to roll upon our arrival on a chilly December Sunday.  I sampled this red and enjoyed it despite feeling less than my best after the long journey…I opted for this Zonin over a chilled white that may have gone better with the hors d’oeuvres (i.e., spicy crab sushi and sashimi).  Welcoming a second glass with the entre–an Asian-spiced chicken with sticky jasmine rice–I was pleased by my choice and looked forward to more of this grape later in the Christmas festivities.

2011 Zonin Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Abruzzo, Italy.

2011 Zonin Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Abruzzo, Italy.

The winemaker describes this as “brilliant, attractive, and warm ruby-red” in color, with an “ample bouquet, with scents of plum and wild berries,” and flavor that is “dry, full-bodied with notable personality.” I think the above a tad overstated, but generally on point…will be curious to hear what others have to share on this too.

Given some of the amazing bordeaux and pinot noirs that we’ve been having lately, this montepulciano had a hard line to toe.  It did its share.  Very solid but not supreme.