Sunday, August 29, 2010

Vini La Quercia Wines

Excellent Montepulciano d' Abruzzo Wines: DOC and DOCG

Earlier this month we purchased three different wines from Wines from Italy, a specialty importer of well crafted Italian wines. All of these wines are made by Vini La Quercia in Morro D'Oro, a small town located in the heart of the "Colline Teramane" in the province of Teramo, Abruzzo. "La Quercia"'s vineyards are located on sunny hills between the Adriatic Sea and the Gran Sasso mountain. Their location, land and elevation allows the optimal climate and conditions for ideal grapes cultivation that helps them create excellent wines with unique characteristics. La Quercia is a small estate winery that takes pride in producing great wines that are a good reflection of Abruzzo. Abruzzo is about two-thirds mountains and one-third hills. It is east of Rome from the center of the Italian Peninsula to the Adriatic coast. It has four provinces; Chieti, L'Aquilla, Pescara, and Teramo. The main grape varieties are the white Trebiano and the red Montepulciano. There is a town in Tuscany called Montepulciano that should not be confused with the grape variety. All three wines we tried were made from the Montepulciano grape and each represents a different style or “level” of wine.


The first wine is the Montepulciano d' Abruzzo, DOC, 2008. This wine is made without the use of oak barrels and is released and often enjoyed while young. This wine has a deep purple color and a pleasant nose of black fruit, wet rocks and spice. This is a medium bodied wine with rich dark berry flavors, crisp acidity of cooked cranberries and abundant gripping tannins that cloak the tongue. A good “food wine” that can pair well with a sharp cheese or a bowl of Pasta Arrabiata. Available for about $14.


The second wine (tier) is the Primamadre, Montepulciano d' Abruzzo, DOC, 2007. This wine is also 100% Montepulciano, aged in oak barrels for about 6 months. The Primamadre is a bigger wine then the first, with rich berry flavors accented by spicy oak, licorice, flint and black pepper. This is a medium bodied wine with a dark ruby/purple color, sweet tannins and ample acidity. The flavors are bold and concentrated elevating this wine above the everyday pizza wine. Available for about $16.

The third wine (upper echelon) is the Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Colline Teramane, Primamadre, DOCG, 2005. Though the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo variety of grapes is grown all over Abruzzo, it is in the hilly territory of Colline Teramane, in the province of Teramo, that it bears its best fruit. Thus, when the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo appellation DOCG was created in 2003, the sub-zone of Colline Teramane was designated for special wines that qualify for the DOCG status. This is a special wine that proves that big, bold, quality wines can be made from the Montepulciano grape in the Abruzzo region. This wine is aged for two to three years total in steel vats, oak barrels and the bottle, before release. This wine has a dark purple color with a ruby rim. Full bodied with impressive concentration; there are gobs of spicy black fruit, mineral accented dried strawberry and cherry and long chewy finish. With a nice mixture of quality fruit, smooth tannins, crisp acidity and toasty oak, this wine should cellar well for another 10 years. We enjoyed this wine with some delicious Sicilian-inspired food at La Medusa, in Seattle. This wine is available for about $22.

All three of these wines, from Vini La Quercia, are very enjoyable and great with hearty Italian fare. This winery is proving that like Tuscany and Piedmont, Abruzzo has some great red wines worth seeking out.
 

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