I was recently invited to the “Simply Italian Great Wines Americas Tour 2023” in Dallas where I got to dive into the wines of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo with a great master class led by Dr. Jeremy Parzen of DoBianchi. Montepulciano is a type of grape that grows in East-Central Italy and is located on the Adriatic Sea. From here it gets confusing.
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wines are made with the Montepulciano grape, which is also the name of the wine. To make things more complicated, there is a wine made in Tuscany made with Sangiovese called Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which is the town it is located in. I’ve visited this region and had the chance to delve into their wines.
They are very different. The Master Class “Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, a great Italian red wine” was hosted by the marketing manager of the Consorzio Tutela Vini d’Abruzzo, Davide Acerra, who tag teamed with food and wine historian Jeremy Parzan to talk about the history, terroir, winemaking, and families in the region.
We then tasted eight wines, which showed the diversity, styles and range of a place where 65 percent of the region is mountainous and more than 30 percent of the land is protected by parks, nature reserves and protected areas. The Abruzzo region lies between the Apennine mountains and the Adriatic Sea coast in the Appenne foothills, which is sunny and warm.
We tried eight wines and overall, they were medium to full-bodied and soft, with good tannins and balanced acidity.
- 2021 Agriverde Natum Montepulciano d’Abruzzo — Notes of violet, blackberry and a nice freshness.
- 2020 Cantine Truentum ‘968 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo – I could taste notes of vanilla, berries, cranberry, spice and coffee.
- 2020 Ettore Galasso Corno Grande Premium Montepulciano d’Abruzzo– I tasted a spice, licorice, wet stone, cherry and it had a bit of a smokiness to it.
- 2020 Cantina Mazzarosa Vere Novo Whole Bunch Montepulciano d’Abruzzo – This was an intense and complex wine with spice, herbs, concentrated fruit and a touch of saltiness.
- 2019 Pasetti Tenuta Rossa Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Riserva – this was a big red. Lots of fruit, flowers, cherry, licorice, and herbs.
- 2018 Codice Vino Torre Passo Teate Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Riserva – Notes of balsamic, red and blackberries, licorice and herbs.
- 2017 Vigna Madre Capo Le Vigne Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Riserve 2017 Vigna Madre Capo Le Vigne Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Riserve – Lots of red and black fruit, cocoa, coffee and spice.
- 2015 Cantina Rapino Gira Montepulciano D’Abruzzo DOC – As the oldest wine in the bunch, I was really excited to try this one. Unfortunately, the first bottle was corked and the next one had some flaws that wouldn’t be fair to discuss. I look forward to trying the wine in the future, as it had a lot of promise.
Unfortunately, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo has gotten a bad reputation for the mass production of wines. But the wines we tried showed the promise of the region and the price point averaging $20 a bottle was a great buy.
It’s a unique place, in a unique climate with a diverse terroir making wines that I want to explore more. A friend and fellow wine journalist John M. Fodera, the owner & publisher of Tuscan Vines, gave the strong recommendation to try a wine from Cerulli Spinozzi. So, the journey continues.