Easy Summer Italian Reds: A Trilogy – Part Two.
From one of the least familiar regions of Italy, called Le Marche (mar-KAY, not mar-SHAY) comes a native Italian wine that is also one of the least familiar to Western consumers—Montepulciano (mon-teh-pool-chiAH-no). Technically, the SALADINI PILASTRI Rosso Piceno Superiore “Montetinello” is a red blend, as it contains 30% Sangiovese, but it’s a really good showcase for the Montepulciano grape as it fully displays what an easy-drinking, flavorful but not-too-heavy, quintessentially Italian wine can be made from the grape. Farmed organically, the 2013 vintage wine starts with super-fresh aromas of violets, blackberries, black cherries and vanilla. These flavors continue onto the palate brightly and with the same aspect of super-freshness and a hint of minerality. What makes this such good juice is its solid & lean structure—the robust, full-flavored forwardness you come to expect from Italian wine is all there, but it seems like a much lighter wine because it’s so focused and balanced, finishing off with tantalizing acidity as well as a rustic note of leather (no doubt, an effect of the Sangiovese in the blend). With alcohol volume merely at 13.5% and hardly any tannins to be detected, texturally it’s comparable to a light Pinot… nice n’ easy. So, this is a red you can take with you on the lawn, on the patio, in the backyard, by the pool or in the garden. A unique Rosso that’s a delightful, and affordable, warm-weather red wine that’s also from far off the beaten path. –J.M.