Monday, June 28, 2010

Carpineto Vino di Nobile Montepulciano 2003

For foreign drinkers, the heart of montepulciano has a confusion between name of grape and name of place. The montepulciano grape makes Montepulciano d'Abruzzo wines in the Abruzzo part of Italy. Away from Abruzzo, a separate wine is made near the village of Montepulciano, in southern Tuscany, mostly from sangiovese.

This wine, the 2003 release Vino di Nobile Montepulciano, is made by Carpineto. It is 90% sangiovese and 10% canaiolo nero. I am not aware of anyone growing canaiolo grapes in Australia, but from what I understand it played a softening, extending and preserving aromatics role similar to blending trebbiano into chianti.

The 2003 vintage was difficult in and around Montepulciano - hot, dry and fast for many producers. This wine doesn't quite have the expressive elegance I look for in good examples of sangiovese from Montepulciano. There is an inky character accompanying the aged fruit and still somewhat unresolved tannins. The wine looked like it may have brettanomyces issues on the first night, but this backed off on night two to produce a decent accompaniment to a slow beef casserole and braised fennel.

Still, when the sangiovese wines from Montepulciano are on song, they can offer much of the pleasure of good brunello for quite a lot less money.

Kyle Phillips has an excellent overview of the impact of the hot 2003 vintage for the Vino di Nobile Montepulciano:

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