Friday, February 18, 2011

“The Italian Wine Masters,” Part 3 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

The Italian Wine Masters is a combined effort between The Consorzi Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti Classico, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore. It’s a trade show of sorts, where industry professionals and press are invited to meet the owners and representatives of over 100 wineries from Tuscany and the Veneto, Valdobbiadene wine growing region.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

When studying the wines of a country as large and diverse as Italy, you sometimes find yourself prioritizing or turning a blind eye to a specific region or wine from that country. When you consider the amount of wine that comes out of Italy, the number of varietals grown (over 350), and how many variations you can find on each wine from the 20 different wine-growing regions, you start to understand my plight. I am ashamed to say that Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is one of the wines that I choose to overlook. I had tried it once and it simply didn’t impress me… now, I must say, I was a fool.

I believe my first mistake was in expecting something from the wine that would remind me more of Brunello or Chianti. My second mistake was drinking a young wine. And my last mistake was never giving it a second chance… until now.

What impressed me the most about the Vino Nobile at The Italian Wine Masters were the bottles that I sampled in the Sommeliers cellar (which is why I choose to include those notes here). These wines, after ten years of age, were beautifully structured with vibrant fruit flavors and aromas that you don’t find in most Sangiovese wines from Tuscany. Vino Nobile must be made from at least 70% Sangiovese and aged for two years prior to release. The region is located Southeast of Chianti Classico and East of Montalcino. What this all amounts to is a unique expression of what Sangiovese is capable of, in a region that truly deserves more attention.

I would highly recommend searching out the wines of any of these producers. If you must drink them young, I recommend decanting them. If you have the ability to place them in your cellar, you’ll be in store for a treat in years to come.

On to the notes:

2007 Ruffino Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Lodola Nuova – This wine showed a bit of yeast on the nose, like red fruits wrapped in baking breads. On the palate, I found it to be toasty with spiced red fruits and leather. (88 points)

2004 Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva – The nose showed animal musk, and candied strawberry. On the palate, this wine showed focused red fruit with polished acidity and structure. It was highly enjoyable yet still tannic and could easily benefit from a few years of cellaring. (90 points)

2007 Crociani Vino Nobile di Montepulciano – The nose showed masses of raspberry, cedar, herbs and a bit of older wood. The palate was structured, but not austere, and savory with rich black cherry. The finish coated the palate with fine tannin. This wine would benefit from a few years in the cellar. (91 points)

2008 Crociani Vino Nobile di Montepulciano – The nose was slightly restrained yet still showing floral notes and ripe strawberry. On the palate, I found plum and holiday spice. The finish was firm with drying tannin. This wine may really shine with a proper decanting. (89 points)

2006 Crociani Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva – The nose showed red fruits, violets and a hint of toast. On the palate, I found a rich, full-bodied wine, with brambly red fruit and cedar. The finish was smooth and long. (91 points)

1999 Crociani Vino Nobile di Montepulciano – The nose showed dried red fruits with undergrowth, hints of green stems and pepper. On the palate, the fruits turned round and sweet as this wine strutted a fine mature structure with flavors of lush wild berries and spice. The finish was fresh and juicy. (90 points)

2001 La Ciarliana Vino Nobile di Montepulciano “Vigna Scianello” – Red berries and a hint of citrus filled out the nose of this wine, as flavors of blackberry, cinnamon and salinity assaulted the palate. It showed great structure and balance leading into a long berry fruit finish. (91 points)

1999 Salcheto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano – The nose showed green stems with sour red fruit and a floral quality. On the palate, this wine was smooth with black raspberry, mineral copper and hints of salinity. (87 points)

2001 Boscarelli Vino Nobile di Montepulciano “Il Nocio” – The nose showed plum and spicy dark fruit. On the palate, I found raspberry but not much else, as this wine faded into a pleasant fruity finish. Although, this wine wasn’t relavatory, I still found it to be enjoyable and likely a great wine for an evening meal. (89 points)

2001 Dei Vino Nobile Montepulciano Riserva “Bossona” – This showed a gorgeous floral nose of violets with crushed wild berries. On the palate, I found rich red fruit on a full structured frame with herbal tea notes and spice. This wine was mouth-filling and it slowly tapered off into a finish of red fruits and dark chocolate. (92 points)

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