Italy, Montepulciano, Red wine

La Valentina Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2007

Winemaker: Luca D’Attoma
Grape: Montepulciano
Region: Abruzzo, Italy

When Sabatino Di Properzio founded La Valentina in 1990 in Spoltore, Abruzzo region was historically known for producing industrial bulk wines. But this terrain, that is two-thirds mountains, was far more interesting for producing quality wines – and several artisan producers, who arrived on the scene in recent years, realized that.
“La Valentina is a young winery. The estate makes richly flavored, modern-styled wines under the guidance of oenologist Luca d’Attoma. These delicious wines are sure to find many fans… I found it impossible to resist [the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo]…great value too.” -The Wine Advocate, February 29, 2008
Five acres of Trebbiano and 12-1/2 of Montepulciano vines on the Spoltore hillside vineyard, near the Adriatic Sea were planted 27 years ago. Surrounded by mountains over 6,600 ft high, along with proximity to the sea, it defines the typical characteristics of the vine varieties planted here.

Now, there is a better understanding of the terroire to obtain healthier, more authentic wines – with the use of traditional farming methods, limiting use of chemicals and with a minimal intervention in the land’s natural processes. La Valentina staff respects the fruit of the land both in the vineyard and in the bottle.

After the fermentation, the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo aged for 15 months in large oak barrels.

Tasting notes:
Although many wine drinkers argue that Montepulciano is generally light wine with not enough body, that wouldn’t be an issue with this vintage of La Valentina. Deep ruby color in the glass promises a lot of fruit flavors. Wine has a beautiful aromas of ripe dark fruit like black cherries, blackberries and spices.

On the palate it is super fruity, smooth and clean with lovely spicy notes and well balanced with an acidity. Notes of dark cherries, currant or even plums on the palate. Very generous finish. This is an excellent example of modern Montepulciano, surprisingly rich in flavors. Wine like this could easily stand even to grilled meats.

Dry – Off dry – Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Retail price: around $ 14.00

Ideal food pairing:

grilled meat, prosciutto, medium aged cheeses, Chicken and shrimp skewers, Chicken thighs in mushroom gravy, Tilapia loin with spicy sweet potato hash, Roasted salmon with spring spinach, Pork chops with wine and capers and many more

Italy, Montepulciano, Red blends, Red wine

Avignonesi Vino Nobile 2004

Grape: 85 % Prugnolo Gentile, 10 % Canaiolo Nero, 5% Mammolo
Region: Montepulciano, Italy

Ratings: Wine Advocate: 90 points

The history of the beautiful estate of Avignonesi goes back to the most ancient in Italy. It is not known when Avignonesi’s cellars were built exactly, but there were records stating that Palazzo Avignonesi was built in the 2nd half of 16th century and it has always been the wine cellar.

In 1309 pope Clement V. transferred the papal residence from Rome to Avignon, France. In 1377, when pope Gregory XI moved the papal residence back to Rome, some noble families of Avignon left France to follow him. At that time, one of those families became known as Avignonesi – probably to simplify their foreign name. They soon separated and part of the family settled in Rome, Siena, and Montepulciano.

Today, Avignonesi takes care of 4 different estates – Le Capezzine, I Poggetti, La Selva and La Lombarda. In total the winery owns 225 hectares of land, 109 ha of it are devoted to vineyards and 3 ha of olive trees.

The grapes for Vino Nobile were picked by hand from the best-situated vineyard sites, fermented with skins for 20-25 days. The wine then aged first 18 months in large oak barrels, and then was transferred to French oak barriques for an additional 18 months. The wine is finally released to the market after 9 additional months in the bottle.

Tasting notes:
The beautiful, dark garnet red color and rich aroma of dark plums, black cherries, blackberries, and herbs. The smokey and velvety tannins are soft, it shows a beautiful expression of fruit and great balance with acidity. I would recommend to decant it, as this wine is rich and full-body, while it’s opening up slowly. This is the time to drink this vintage although the maturity will rise for at least another five years.

Dry – Off dry – Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Retail price: around $ 26.00

Ideal food pairing:
Stewed meats, game, pork roasts, grilled meats, Flank steak with shitakee sauce , Beef Bourguignon,  Lamb burgers with relish mayo