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Montepulciano, Abruzzo or Tuscany?!?!

Drop by today Friday, October 4, 3:30 - 6:30 to be educated, satiated and sedated on the marvels of Montepulciano

Montepulciano 101: Whether it be Abruzzo or Toscana, the red wines of these regions are extremely exciting but are two totally different beasts. When the word "Montepulciano" is first, like the first two wines below, it is the name of the grape and is from the Abruzzo region which lies east of Rome on the Adriatic coast. You can also find it in Le Marches and Northern Puglia along the Adriatic, but the grape isn't listed on these wines. When the word "Montepulciano" appears last in the title of the wine as with the third and fourth wines on the page, it is from the Southern Tuscan village of Montepulciano (Noble Wine of Montepulciano) and whose primary grape is required to be Sangiovese. No matter where the word is positioned on the label, the bottom line is that these wines represent excellent quality/price rapport and are worthy of your attention.

$13.99 BTL./$167.88 CASE

There are "pizza" Montepulciano D'Abruzzo wines for 10 bucks then there is serious stuff like Fratelli Barba and the Cataldi Madonna version which follows. Fratelli Barba is the operation of brothers Vincenzo, Giovanni and Domenico Barba and they treat their wines the same way any good Barolo or Brunello producer would treat their offerings. Fratelli Barba makes several Montepulciano wines and the Vignafranca is one their top cuvees.

Soulful, harmonious and chock full of lively strawberry/blueberry fruit, supple tannins, graphite and underlying saline. Mouth-filling, dry and delivering a combination of spice and earth, this engaging food-friendly number will work with just about any tomato-based or spicy Italian-sausage dish.

$17.99 BTL./$215.88 CASE

One of the real leaders and innovators of Abruzzo, Luigi Cataldi Madonna marries tradition with innovation and produces wines that are seriously upscale for the region yet won't cause one to break the bank in order to enjoy a bottle.

At the same time being both smooth and potent, this satisfying red reveals notes of black plum, ripe cherry, espresso bean, licorice and lavender which fold into a texture that is fleshy, vibrant and above all, very Italian with its tanginess. This is over-delivering upscale Montepulciano with a savory long finish that will pair well with aged pecorino, grilled lamb or penne Bolognese.

$21.99 BTL./$263.88 CASE

Founded in 1972, Talosa was one of the early producers bent on exploiting Montepulciano's famed land to make top-quality wines and having just tasted earlier this week, I really think this may well be one of this Southern Tuscany's finest deals. A neo-classical producer, for vintage 2009 Talosa has fashioned up a delicious, hearty red that is both accessible and very true to both its soil and Prugnolo Gentile (Montepulciano's clone of Sangiovese) character.

Violet, nutmeg and dark chocolate surround black raspberry and roasted plum notes as a sturdy mouth-filling combination of wild spice, earth and vanilla flavors blitz the palate in a seductive way from front to back and allow for immediate gratification. An excellent value, if you wish to cellar some, no problem to do so through 2019.

$29.99 BTL./$359.88 CASE

While Talosa is one of the fine deals of the area, when it comes to Boscarelli and this wine, we step it up with something from not only one of the pillars of Montepulciano but one of the most important estates in all of Tuscany. Sampled on this last week, all I wrote on my notes was "simply wow"! As usual the De Ferrari family scored with their remarkable red that is best described as Sangiovese-Sensory-Overload and we think you're gonna like it!

The 2009 Boscarelli is a classic beauty that woos you in from the first waft of violet, lush cherry, raspberry and sweet roasted Tuscan herbs. Texturally, it's all about elegance and balance with intense depth, alluring spice from the earth and a gentle use of oak all which tastefully frame the bountiful core of fruit. Finally, on the finish, these qualities all come together as the depth and expansion of flavor lingers on the palate. Opening one now with a hearty meal wouldn't be a crime but this delicious Tuscan treat will continue to develop for another 10-12 more years.