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 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.