Villa Cerrina Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

I’m in Ann Arbor, Michigan on a temporary assignment (arranging a short-term lease, getting packed, etc. is a big part of the reason I haven’t blogged much in the last 2 weeks). Fortunately there’s a Trader Joe’s here where I can stock up on food & wine. I need to do some price comparisons, but I believe that Ohio and Michigan are usually priced about the same. I also have a recommendation from my friend Patty about a great wine store which turns out to be less than a mile from my office. I’ll be reporting on that shortly.

Today’s wine in a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, which is an easy-drinking varietal red from the south-central portion of Italy’s east coast, overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Don’t confuse this wine, made from the Montepulciano grape, with the sub-district of Chianti known as “Vino Nobile di Montepulciano” – the US equivalent would be Portland, Oregon vs. Portland, Maine. Many people refer to the Tuscan wine as just “Vino Nobile” to prevent any ambiguity. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is what I call my “training-wheels red”; if you’re stuck on whites and want to branch out, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a good first step; it’s low in tannin, has a soft, fruity mouthfeel, can be enjoyed without food, and isn’t too heavy. Plus it’s not hard to find a very respectable bottle in the $10 range.

I’m popping this open with a simple pepperoni, mushroom, and onion pizza.

Villa Cerrina (2012) Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Italy – $5

Photo0357Color: ruby verging on purple; dark for a Montepulciano.

Aroma: a little earthy and spicy, then lots of fresh plum and cherry fruit.

Taste: relatively full up front, but not over-heavy. More fruit, plus a little licorice and truffle earthiness. The finish is just a little stemmy; I need to look up the 2012 vintage report to see if there were ripening problems with the harvest.

This is a fair introduction to Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, but I was disappointed in the finish. You can rapidly graduate from this into other producers from the same region, as well into other light-bodied red wines such as Pinot Noir and Merlot.

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