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Tenuta Ulisse Amaranta Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2017
Founded in 2006, Tenuta Ulisse is one of a new breed of Abruzzo wineries who are making exciting, thoroughly modern expressions of the region’s classic grape varieties. The contemporary winery has its roots in the small vineyard planted near the town of Crecchio by Antonio Ulisse in the early 1900s, but it was only during the 2000s that his grandsons created the estate as it is today.
Tenuta Ulisse sources all of its fruit from three family-owned vineyards which allows them to retain complete control over the whole grape growing process from the care of the vine through to the harvest. The Amaranta Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a stylish expression of the region’s classic black grape with previous vintages awarded 99 points and crowned Best Italian Wine by wine expert Luca Maroni.
On the nose there are abundant aromas of ripe plums, cherries, and sweet liquorice along with hints of baking spice and vanilla from the 12 months of ageing in French and American oak barrels. The generous full body, refined tannins and silky smooth texture make this a fine partner for food with a particular affinity for red meats served in a rich tomato sauce.
Tenuta Ulisse 10 Vendemmie Limited Edition
The Tenuta Ulisse story began a century ago when Antonio Ulisse first planted a small vineyard near the town of Crecchio. In 2006 Antonio’s grandsons founded the modern winery which focuses on creating contemporary expressions of Abruzzo’s indigenous varieties without losing contact with the estate’s long history and heritage.
Tenuta Ulisse’s 10 Vendemmie is an exciting limited edition release which provides a snapshot of the last ten vintages on the Abruzzo estate. This multi-vintage blend incorporates wines from the past decade with each vintage contributing a unique element to this remarkably complex expression of the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo grape.
The nose initially opens with dark berry aromas and hints of dried herbs which transform into deep leather, liquorice and baked earth notes after the wine has opened up in the glass. On the palate the first sensation silky smooth and soft with a generous full body and rounded tannins complemented by a weight of intense berry and ripe plum flavours which linger long on the tongue. The complexity of this wine makes it a good partner for rich, multi-layered dishes like slow-cooked beef stews which have been left to simmer for hours.
Pasetti Testarossa Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2015
The Pasetti winery was founded in Francavilla on Italy’s Adriatic coast, but over the past couple of decades the family have expanded their estate to include vineyards in inland areas of Abruzzo at the foot of the Apennines and also in the verdant Tirino Valley.
Testarossa is Pasetti’s flagship wine and bears a distinctive red label which was inspired by the family’s ginger-haired women who played such a key role in the winery’s history. The grapes are grown in the foothills of Gran Sasso, the highest mountain in the Apennines, at an altitude of 550 metres. These conditions ensure that the grapes achieve optimum maturity as well as plenty of elegance and freshness thanks to the cooling breezes from the mountains.
The grapes are typically picked very late, at the end of November, and are fermented and matured in stainless steel tanks for 18 months. The young wine is then transferred to large oak casks for an additional 18-22 months of ageing. The result is a rich, full-bodied wine with ample dark berry notes and hints of cigar box on the nose. On the palate there is a firm structure, velvety texture and intense cassis and blackberry flavours which linger on the finish.
Pasetti Harimann Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2010
Harimann is the Pasetti family’s top wine and a benchmark expression of the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo grape variety. The grapes are typically harvested in November when they have reached optimum maturity from vineyards set at the foot of the mighty Gran Sasso massif in the Apennines mountains.
The vines are planted at an altitude of 550 metres and benefit from the strong mountain winds and cool nights which help to preserve freshness and create a complex flavour profile. In the winery the must is vinified in stainless steel tanks where it is kept for 12 months followed by up to 36 months in new oak barrels. The wine is finally released after another 18 months of maturation in the bottle.
This extensive ageing process helps to produce a rich and powerful wine with a very long finish and layers of flavours which evolve and change in the glass. The nose opens with hints of black cherry, leather and caramel which deepen on the palate into heady cherry liqueur, plums and cassis along with notes of coffee, cocoa, licorice and smoky tobacco. This mature wine is ideal to enjoy now along with hearty red meat dishes or can be cellared for another decade or so.
Farnese Opi Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Colline Teramane Riserva 2012
This powerful Italian red is crafted from the Abruzzo region’s iconic and namesake black variety, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. The grapes are carefully harvested by hand, sorted manually twice and macerated on the skins for 25 days. Following vinification the young wine is then matured in oak barrels for up to 24 months to add polish and extra complexity.
On the nose there are evocative notes of black cherry, pepper, licorice and sweet baking spice while the first sip reveals a well-rounded texture, full body and long-lasting dark fruit flavours. The bold character and well-built structure makes this a great partner for red meat dishes including barbecued ribs, steak and hearty ragu sauces served with fresh pasta.
Farnese takes its name from Ottavio Farnese, the 16th century Duke of Palma and husband of Princess Margaret of Austria, who together with his wife was a key figure in Abuzzo’s viticultural history. The couple planted vines on their land in the region and began to produce exceptional wines that were drunk at many of the most splendid courts in Europe. Today the Farnese group continues that legacy by creating delicious wines from some of Abruzzo’s finest vineyards.
San Lorenzo Escol Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Riserva 2013
San Lorenzo is a third generation family winery producing exquisite Verdicchios and aromatic reds from the central Italian region of Marche. The estate was founded by master cooper Enrico Crognaletti and later passed to his son, Gino, who dedicated himself to filling the property with the finest Verdicchio clones from the local area.
In recent years ownership has been transferred to Gino’s son, Natalino, who has continued to push to produce the best quality wines possible from the estate and farms the vineyards according to organic and biodynamic principles.
This Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva is made with Natalino’s top quality grapes from the Colline Teramane where the vineyards sit at 300 metres of elevation. In the winery the must is macerated on the skins for around 30 days and then aged in French oak barrels for 24 months. The result is an intense, full bodied red with rich dark fruit flavours seasoned with hints of baking spice, dried herbs, and licorice. The firm structure and tannins make this an excellent contender for extended cellar ageing or it can be enjoyed now alongside hearty dishes like beef bourguignon or a prime steak.