Thursday, December 3, 2009
MONTECUCCO AND A GREAT ITALIAN RED
Finally, we received our inaugural shipment from Domenico Selections, a small but dynamic importer of Italian wines. For those of you who know me, or have read this blog a bit, know that I am a BIG fan of Italian wines, primarily for their food-friendly flavor profiles, as well as their charm and varietal correctness (amongst other things). Yet I concede that Italian wines are the most difficult wines to educate your staff and customers on, because of how vast and infinite the subject is.
You see, as I have talked about before here at UTGT, every state in Italy produces wine, and each state is completely different from the others, in that primarily, they have their own grape varieties they use to make wine. While grapes such as Sangiovese, Trebbiano and Montepulciano are found in many regions, you can also discover varieties such as Bombino, Arneis, Nerello Mascalese, and Cesanese, just to name a few. Truth be told, there are thousands of grape varieties used in Italy to make wine. So I will attempt to offer you up a bit of a primer, at least where the wines of Domenico Selections are concerned (I hope I get this right Terry).
The first wine I’d like to discuss is from Tuscany – the Piandibugnano L’Erpico 2005, which hails from the Montecucco DOC. Now, Montecucco is a pretty new DOC appellation (wine region). Established in 1998, it surrounds the lava dome of Mt. Amiata, in the Maremma portion of Southern Tuscany. Montecucco is a traditional wine region, and strict laws prohibit use of those “non-traditional” grape varieties I mention from time to time (you know, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, etc.) – the grapes we all know and love.
With the L’Erpico, and many Montecucco reds, the wine is 100% Sangiovese, the cornerstone for most Tuscan red wines. DOC laws allow no less than 85% Sangiovese, with a blend of other Italian varietals making up for the rest, but in the L’Erpico, it’s 100%. This wine sees some malolactic fermentation to tone down the acidity and tannin, and aged in oak barriques.
There are not a lot of Montecucco wines in the American marketplace, so it’s nice to stumble across one, especially one that rocks! This wine makes a great addition to our collection of kick-ass Italian wines.