Montepulciano di Abruzzo – Wine Tasting Dinner

Does that title sound familiar to you? As a regular reader of this blog it should. Before leaving for my last business trip my wife and I were invited to a wine tasting dinner over at a friend’s house. Last time we were having a Brunello di Montalcino tasting at my place – this time the topic was Montepulciano di Abruzzo. Everybody was supposed to bring a bottle of wine and a decanter but for me that didn’t work out very well. You ask why? I got confused with Montepulciano di Abruzzo and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano!! So shame on me for bringing a Tuscan wine over to the dinner. I don’t know why Italians had to give two different wines very similar names! Fortunatly, the host has a huge wine cellar which includes some of the best Montepulciano di Abruzzo so it was no problem at all.

Last time we did this, we tasted the wines blind but this time we decided not to since it didn’t work out too well last time. All wines were decanted for more than two hours. For me all of these wines were new. I had never tasted any of them before.

Evening started with a 2007 Illuminati ‘Pieluni’ – Montepulciano di Abruzzo di Colline Teramene DOCG Riserva. One thing I dislike about Italian (and German!) wines are the unpronounceable, long wine names.
Intense ruby red color. Fruity nose with plums, raspberry, cinnamon, tobacco and vanilla. On the palate rather tannic. Rich wine with a good structure. Elegant, long finish.
Retail price: $55

We moved on to a  2004 Gianni Masciaerelli Montepulciano ‘Villa Gemma’ Montepulciano di Abruzzo DOC Riserva. Dark purple color. Aromas of blackberry, raspberry, strawberry blackcurrant, and licorice. Dry on the palate with a slight oak touch. Extremely well-balanced. Full bodied and long aftertaste.
Retail price: $85

The next two wines were provided by the host and both were produced by Il Feuduccio di Santa Maria di Orsonia (these long names are starting to frustrate me). Both wines were labeled Montepulciano di Abruzzo DOC. The first of the two was called ‘Feuduccio’ (2006 vintage). Since fellow blogger Vino in Love reviewed this wine, too and allowed me to use his tasting notes I’ll just skip this wine. Of course, if  would disagree with his notes (which I don’t) I wouldn’t use them.
Retail price: $35

The wine had a deep, ruby red color. ‘Feuduccio had a bouquet of dark ripe cherries, rasins, caramel, tobacco, licorice, and raspberry. On the palate, the wine was smooth, dry and a little bit fruity. Ver harmonic and complex. The wine had a big body and I tastec herry again. ‘Feuduccio had some mineralic notes, too. The finish was persistently long.”

The second wine from Il Feuduccio di Santa Maria di Orsonia was called ‘Margae’ (2001 vintage). It’s supposed to be better than the ‘Feuduccio’. Dark purple color. Strong tobacco aromas followed by blackcurrant, caramelized fruit, and vanilla. For my personal taste, the palate was, too dry and mixed with rather strong tannins this didn’t work out very well for me. I don’t find this wine to be well-balanced at all. The only highlight was an elegant, medium-long aftertaste.
Retail price: $45

The last wine was a 2000 Emidio Pepe Montepulciano di Abruzzo DOC. Dark purple color, almost black in the glass. Intense nose with aromas of licorice, raspberry, ripe cherry, blackcurrant, tobacco, vanilla, cocoa, blueberry, and chocolate. Silky tannins, full-bodied, well-structured. Fruity but short finish. I think the wine was passed its peek. Retail price: $120.

Now the question arises which wine was my favorite? The 2004 Gianni Masciaerelli Montepulciano ‘Villa Gemma’ Montepulciano di Abruzzo DOC Riserva came in first place, followed by 2006 Il Feuduccio di Santarmia di Onoria ‘Feuduccio’ Montepulciano di Abruzzo DOC. The ‘Feuduccio’ had an excellent price-quality ratio but the ‘Villa Gemma’ was just overwhelmingly good!

The ‘Margae’ disappointed me a little bit. The others were not bad either. Don’t get me wrong, every wine we tried was good but some were just a little bit better than others.

Also please note that I used bottle labels from wine-searcher for the first and second wine and the vintages on the labels are a bit off. Now if I’ll start writing about all the food we ate then this post will never finish – so I won’t. Tomorrow or the day after tomorrow I will post the 2nd edition of my “wine readings” feature. If you missed #1 then follow this link. Also thanks again to Vino in Love for allowing me to use his tasting notes.

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10 thoughts on “Montepulciano di Abruzzo – Wine Tasting Dinner

  1. What a fantastic wine tasting! So many great wines. Sorry to hear that you disliked the Margae. I had mixed experiences with it. I would love to try an Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. I heard lots of good things about them 🙂

  2. Oh Man, Frank: I wish we lived closer by to one another and I promise I would beg to be invited to one of your horizontal tasting dinners!!!
    Personally, I very much like Masciarelli as a winery, also for Montepulciano – if you stumble upon it, try their Montepulciano S. Martino Rosso “Marina Cvetic” it is really good and fairly priced.
    Emidio Pepe is an excellent producer too, but in my view, $120 for a Montepulciano, albeit a very good one? I would pass on that. This is one of the things I cannot stand in the US: there are certain Italian wines that get sold here at prices that just don’t make sense compared to what they can be had in Italy – and this is even taking into account the weak dollar.
    Illuminati is also a very good winery and so is Pietrantonj (their Cerano is also good if you come across it).
    Congrats on the as usual excellent and concise notes. I really admire your style, Frank – beside what you drink, that is! 😉

    • Hey Stefano 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
      I am sure that someday we will enjoy a glass or two of good wine together.
      Well I didn’t bring the Emidio Pepe Montepulciano di Abruzzo over and I think $120 is too a little bit too high, too but the prices in America for good wine are just crazy. I remember that I bought a few bottles of Agriverde ‘Plateo’ Montepuliciano d’Abruzzo for €30 or so. And the Plateo would outclass the Emidio Pepe…
      I will have a look at the other wines from Masciraelli. All wines that I tried from them so far were quite good.
      These wine dinners are quite fun and I am already looking forward to the next one (not sure when it will take place since we usually do it spontaneously whenever we don’t have to work).I will suggest an Alto Adige DOC or on Valpolicella/Amarone DOC wine evening. I think the Alto Adige cuisine is very delicious but the wines from the Valpolicella are maybe a little bit better.

  3. Thank you, Frank!
    Those are nice choices for your next wine tasting dinner and I am looking forward to reading about it. If I may suggest one more option for you to bear in mind for future tastings, that would be Valtellina: there are some wines from the region that are truly outstanding.
    Take care

  4. Valtellina – that would be something very new for me. Never had a wine from there. I like the idea though of trying something new so I will see if I can arrange a Valtellina wine dinner 🙂 Thank you for the suggestions!

  5. I have a hunch you will like what you are going to taste 🙂
    Bear in mind that they make basically two wines worth having, both made out of Nebbiolo grapes (locally known as Chiavennasca): Valtellina Superiore and Sforzato della Valtellina, the latter being a dry red made with raisin grapes (essentially, they dry the grapes with a process similar to that of Amarone so as to maximize ABV and concentration of aromas).
    If you ever manage to pull it together, a couple of recommendations in terms of wineries are Ar.Pe.Pe. (both the Rocce Rosse and the Ultimi Raggi are excellent, with a slight personal preference of the former over the latter), Fay and Prevostini for Valtellina Superiore and Nino Negri (especially their Cinque Stelle) and Prevostini for Sforzato della Valtellina.

  6. Italian wine dinner part 1 – Wine Talks

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