Monday, August 15, 2011

Poliziano Rosso di Montepulciano (2008)

The word "Montepulciano" can spark rivalries.  Indeed, that word finds itself in two Italian wine styles that are amongst my favorites.  On the one hand, there is the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, which is a wine style I love because it hearkens back to the region from which my mother's grandparents emigrated at the turn of the twentieth century. On the other hand, there is the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. Although the share "Montepulciano," they are two completely different wines.  

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is a wine that is produced around the Tuscan town of Montepulciano.  Unlike the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, it is not made with Montepulciano grapes.  Instead, it is produced with a type of Sangiovese grape known as Prugnilo Gentile.  The Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is a DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita), with specific rules regarding the growing of the grapes and the production of the wines.  

There is another wine produced around the town of Montepulciano, known as a Rosso di Montepulciano.  It is produced with the same Prugnilo Gentile grapes.  The rules allow winemakers to produce the wine with at least 70% of the Prugnilo Gentile grapes, with the remainder consisting of Canaiolo, Mamolo, Merlot and/or Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Poliziano wine Rosso di Montepulciano is made with 80% Sangiovese (Prugnilo Gentile) grapes and 20% Merlot grapes.  The wine pours a dark crimson wine. The aromatic elements of the wine are full of dark cherries and other berries.  This wine is very fruit forward.  This forwardness carries through to the taste.  The wine is very smooth up front, with cherries and blackberries in the taste. There is a slight astringency in the finish, but it almost goes unnoticed because of the fruit in the front. 

This wine is a good wine to serve with roasted or grilled meats, particularly beef.  I paired this wine with the Pollo al Mattone, or Chicken Grilled Under a Brick.  The berries in the taste of the wine paired well with the crispy skin of the chicken, as well as the dark meat. 

This wine is available at Whole Foods Market for about $16 to $20.00 per bottle (depending if it is on sale). 


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