As part of the Simply Italian Great Wines Tour, and organized by I.E.E.M. International Event and Exhibition Management, a group of over 40 wine bloggers, sommeliers and buyers attended a Master Class at the Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas that was devoted to the Montepulciano wine grape that is used in D’Abruzzo DOC wines. Before tasting seven organic and 100% Montepulciano wines, we learned a few things about the DOC from Master of Wine Brandon Tebbe and Davide Acerra with the Consorzio Tutela Vini d’Abruzzo. (Consorzio President Alexander Nicodemi was also in attendance.)
What We Learned
For my wine 101ers, before I give you my notes from the class let me clarify for you that the Montepulciano grape grown in the Abruzzo region of east central Italy is not the same grape found in the town named Montepulciano, which makes a wine mostly from Sangiovese grapes. Now, some of what we learned in bullet points:
- This was the first time these wines have been tasted in Las Vegas. All are looking for importers.
- There are approximately 250 wineries in the DOC, 10,000 grape producers, and 35 wine cooperatives.
- The area has mountains on one side and the Adriatic Sea on the other. Lots of different terroirs. The current predominant area for vineyards is in Chieti that has gravel, sand and clay soil and is located near the sea.
- Over 30% of the region is protected by four parks – three national and one regional. There are protected areas and nature reserves.
- There are 1,000 square meters of grape growing area in total and its “rich in diversity” due to the big mountains on the west and the sea to the east.
- Today we focused only on the red Montepulciano grape – 80% of the area produces this grape. The region also produces seven white grape varieties of wine.
What We Tasted
Tebbe talked us through a tasting of seven wines. He explained that they were very diverse in aromas and flavors. My husband Eddie also attended and some of the tasting notes below are his:
2021 Jasci and Marchesani AZ Agrobiologica: From a small family winery with sea-facing vineyards. Flavors were fruity, vanilla scented and quite dry. Eddie thought it was a great value at $20 a bottle, with red fruits, tannins and a medium finish.
2021 Santo Stefano by Cantine Mucci: Spent 6 months in 100% new American oak. A lot of bacon on the nose and mouth as well as black fruit and chocolate. An interesting wine. Eddie noted the ruby color, tobacco and oak on the nose, and a good balance.
2019 Rosarubra Vigne Lomanegra: This was my favorite wine in the tasting, and I had a chance to enjoy it again over lunch. A single vineyard wine, which had 24 months in barriques. It was quite juicy with black fruit, rose petals, vanilla, and just lovely to linger over. Eddie noted a lighter nose, with flavors of dark fruit, tannin and medium finish.
2019 Pasetti Tenutarossa: Grown at 1,650 foot elevation, and 12 months in bottle before release. The wine showed notes of mint, sour cherries, prunes and chocolate. Eddie got earth on the nose and dark fruit, tannins and acidity on the palate. He also thought it ageable and a good value wine at $15 to $22 a bottle.
2018 Talamonti SRL Tre Saggi: We were told that the words Tre Saggi translate to mean Three Wise Men. This wine was held for three years before release: one in 300-liter French barriques, the next in 300-liter French oak barrels and the last year was spent resting in the bottle. Both red and dark fruit, oak, and lots of tannins. On the nose Eddie got leather, a lushness, well-structured and ageable.
2018 Cantine Agriverde Plato: While the Three Wise Men took three years before release this wine was held for six: two years in stainless steel, two more in French oak barrels and the final two years resting in bottle. Lots of coffee, vanilla, cloves, cocoa adding up to a very dry and dark wine. Eddie found the wine earthy, balanced, structured and long lasting on the finish.
2017 Cantina Frentana Costa Dei Trabocchi Vallevo: Our last wine was the oldest, proving that these wine could and should age. I found sour cherry notes in both the aroma and flavor, with the addition of spice and vanilla. This wine showed more fruit over tannin for Eddie, with a good balance and long finish.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in the first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Proof Awards, Cellarmasters, LA Wine Competition, Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.