In 1993, when we first met the men behind southern Italy’s Farnese Vini – Filippo Baccalaro, Valentino Sciotti and Camillo De Iuliis – few had heard of the Montepulciano grape. A decade later, their Montepulciano d’Abruzzo had won Best Italian Red at the International Wine Challenge, and fine wine guru Robert Parker urged everyone to “buy it by the car load,” describing it as “a juicy, mouthfilling red loaded with dark fruit, supported by a streak of minerality that provides focus and length … a hugely enjoyable everyday red that can be had for a song.”
You can expect more of the same in this sun-baked, new release from Italy’s excellent 2015 vintage. High in the sunny hills of Abruzzo (a central Italian region Farnese Vini helped put on the map), Filippo and his team harvest juicy, soft and flavor-packed grapes by hand (a painstaking process in the hot sun). Once the fruit is in the cellar, they gently press and barrel age it, resulting in a wine that oozes ripe plum flavor.
Montepulciano is Abruzzo’s main grape, and you’ll discover its full range of luscious, black-fruit flavors here. This lovely wine shows a bright, cherry-red color in the glass, with ripe plum, blackberry and licorice aromas, lifted by subtle hints of violet. Velvety smooth on the palate, with plummy richness and attractive licorice notes.
Delicious with meaty pasta or a hunk of Parmesan. Or, if you ever visit Farnese Vini, try it with some crusty bread and their homemade olive oil, while their estate pasta chef whips up something scrumptious.
Follow Parker’s advice and buy this by the car load … though you may want to get a truck!