73: What the hell, 2008! You took a perfectly fine wine and ruined it! I had this one at dinner the other evening and wowed my dinner companion by proudly ordering the 2007 Cvetic from the menu. I then proceeded to horrify my dinner companion by sending the waitress back to the kitchen when they brought out the 2008. When regaling one of my friends with this story they called me “GrapeDick”, which may have to be my pseudonym for when I give bad reviews. Anyways, sadly they were out of 2007 but I figured we’d try the 2008 anyways, and found myself increasingly annoyed as the night went on. It started out all right, it was rustic and kind of leathery, but where the 2007 smoothed out as it sat, this one seemed to get incredibly pissed off that someone was drinking it. It somehow had a sour finish, maybe I was able to taste it more since I ate my meal already, but I did not really enjoy it without food.
This is actually the first Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Moby and I ever had and it was one of the wines that got us started at Vin Bin. This is actually the third time we’ve had this wine but the first time we didn’t have a website yet and the second time we had a bunch of guests over and simply forgot so now it’s time for a proper review. I decided it would be fun to see if Moby could recognize it since we’ve had it before as a blind wine but I’ll tell you what, blind wines are hard. She got Italy so I’ll say that’s pretty darn good for a first blind wine. Our relatives Superstorm and UncleGrape are the true blind wine masters…we both have lots of work to do. And by work I mean drink wine and have lots of fun.
This is a relatively expensive Montepulciano d’Abruzzo at $33 but I got it on sale for $25 x 4 bottles. You do get what you pay for often times though if you know what you’re buying and this holds true with this wine. Our friend Mitchell and I agree that this is the best Montepulciano we’ve ever had. We had simple leftover baked ziti and garlic bread with this bottle.
colonelgrape: 93. This is a rustic and robust bottle of wine. It’s something I’d recommend decanting as the first few sips of un-decanted wine were definitely a bit too strong. It settled down after about 15 minutes and it’s a beautiful ruby color. On the palate it’s very interesting with tastes of anise and leather to go along with classic dark fruit tastes. Compared to other Montepulciano’s I’ve had this is the cream of the crop. You can tell you’re drinking an Italian wine as Moby did in the blind wine challenge. This is another Italian red you could bring to a California wine drinker’s home/party and wow everyone with. Eat this with classic rustic/hearty Italian food and you’ll be in for a treat.
MobyGrape: 85. I failed miserably at my first real blind taste test (I’m not sure why we thought it was a good idea in the first place). Sniffing at it didn’t reveal anything special, I thought it was something maybe on the younger side but that was all I could put together. The first few sips of this had an incredibly strong astringent feeling, like when you’ve eaten too much Cap’n Crunch and the roof of your mouth is all torn up, it was like that feeling but not painful. Once this wine settled down though, it smoothed out nicely. Tasted fruitier, I picked up some anise flavor (it wasn’t overbearing), the astringent/tannin effects all but went away and it had a decent lingering finish to round it out.
After the most recent Chianti disaster I went back downstairs for a new wine and came back with this Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. We haven’t discussed this yet but Moby and I are big Montepulciano d’Abruzzo fans. It’s important to clarify that Montepluciano and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo are very different. Montepulciano is the name of the grape and can be grown anywhere and blended all different ways. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is from the Abruzzo region of Italy and makes quality, 85% or more (often 100%) montepulciano wines. This is probably my second favorite region of Italy next to Piedmont.
Back to the wine, this wasn’t our favorite Montepulciano d’Abruzzo but it was a solid effort. I have three bottles of our favorite in the basement waiting to be reviewed .
colonelgrape: 80. A dryer version of montepulciano but there is still fruit flavor. It initially had a smokey quality but on the palate I found blackberry and cherry flavor with some earthy spice to it. Solid tannins and good acid helped bring out the flavor. It changed in the glass for the better and I found myself enjoying it more as the night went on. I’d recommend this with heartier Italian food. This bottle was about $18 and not bad for the price. The Marina Cvetic we love is $33 and much better but at 1/2 the price of the good stuff I’d say it’s not a bad effort.
MobyGrape: 71. Smelled really smoky at first, and that lingered when you tasted it too. Very dry, but the smokiness dissipates the longer it sits (like smoke tends to do), and it settles into a decent tasting wine after a bit. Didn’t wow me, but I’m glad I didn’t throw it in the garbage after I thought it was smoldering when we opened it.