Montepulciano D'Abruzzo is a stalwart companion for many a meal, but a Montepulciano from Puglia? There's a new twist. The Puglia region (the "heel" of Italy's proverbial boot) is famous for its Trulli homes, and was the subject of a recent, raptuous story in the New York Times travel section. And quite possibly my next travel destination.
So when my trusty wine pal at Astor Wines was gushing over a bottle of Antica Enotria Montepulciano from this region, it was an immediate purchase. Plus, it was in the corner section, where I'm often caught looking moony over the Gravner Ribolla Gialla Amphora and various Quintarelli vintages. Swoon.
Antica Enotria's vines are cultivated using stringent biological cultivation practices. Garnet hued or, as every bottle of red in Italy seems to say, "the colour of red rubies." Leather, dirt and licorice on the nose. Fruity with bramble berries, and wonderfully unoaked, just as promised. Plus a very nice dry, lenghty finish.
What's delightful is how versatile this wine is. So nicely balanced that it stands alone, although it would be perfect with a little finnochina salame from Di Palo's, the venerable house of mozzarella and all things deliriously good and Italian in New York's Little Italy.
I opened this bottle with my recently acquired Blomus screwpull - my great hope for the perfect meld of form + function - which unfortunately requires a fair amount of theatrics to accomplish a relatively simple, albeit reverent, task. While the ultimate wine opener still eludes me, I'm hopeful. Now for some new wine glasses...
Wine: 2004 Antica Enotria Falu, Cerignola, Puglia, Italy
Varietal: 100% Montepulciano, aged in stainless steel
Recommended Pairings: Salumi, peppery greens, meat stews, grilled polenta with cheese.