Tuscan wines are smoking hot right now. There are eight Tuscan wines in the Top 52 of Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2015. The current release 2010 vintage of Brunello is arguably its best in a decade. Chianti’s 2010 through 2012 and the not yet released 2013 vintage are solid performers and the coastal region of Bolgheri and Maremma had an amazing 2011 vintage. What more could a wine lover ask?! But what about Montepulciano?
You know Montepulciano. The small region slightly north east of Montalcino in southern Tuscany. Not the home to Montepulciano d’Abruzzo! No that grape is found in Abruzzo in the central eastern coast of Italy. I am talking about Montepulciano, you know, the delicious home to Vino Nobile DOCG and Vin Santo! A region frequently overlooked by its larger than life Chianti neighbor and its big, bold Brunello neighbor. However, the one thing they all have in common is Sangiovese, a grape of extraordinary versatility that is the back bone, the work horse grape, of all the Tuscan wine regions!
In our October Italian vacation we made a stop at two of the best wineries in Montepulciano. After a wonderful tour, tasting and lunch at Avignonesi we headed to a small family winery that produces first class wines called Poderi Boscarelli. Because my husband does not get much of the “behind the scenes” at wineries I scheduled the full two hour educational tour and tasting with Allesandro. As a total wine geek I never get tired of seeing production, tanks, cellars, etc. I love listening to winemakers talk about how they make each wine and all the nuances that go into such a beautiful profession. I especially never tire of the passion of Italians and Allesandro was great! He was gracious with his time and knowledge. I highly recommend Boscarelli’s Educational Tour. After a great tour that was educational and of course entertaining we sat down to taste some wines. Here are the wines we enjoyed:
Rosso Prugnolo DOC 2014: This wine was crafted of 90% Sangiovese Prugnolo Gentile and 10% Mammalo; soft ruby in the glass; bright red fruit, violets, touch of white pepper, soft and elegant, fresh on the palate, great-structure, balanced acidity and tannins; aged in cement tanks; drink within 4-5 years. Є13
Merlot Cortona DOC 2013: This wine was crafted of hand selected 100% Merlot grapes; deep ruby in the glass; red and black berries with pepper and a rich earthy character; rich and round on the palate yet delicately highlights the essence of Merlot; supple with well-balanced character; aged in cement tanks; drink within 4-5 years. Є13
Vino Nobile de Montepulciano DOCG 2012: This wine was crafted of 85% Sangiovese Prugnolo Gentile with the remaining 15% combined Colorino, Canaiolo and Mammalo grapes; deep garnet in the glass; rich and luscious on the palate with dark berries and fruit, floral notes, minerality, spice notes and earthiness; smooth texture, elegant and complex with perfectly balanced acidity and tannins; aged in Slovenian oak casks from 18 to 24 months then several more months in bottle before release; this wine can be further aged after purchase in proper conditions for decades Є22
Vino Nobile de Montepulciano DOCG 2007: Crafted with same grapes and same aging as the 2012; however, age has allowed for more complexities, smoother texture with tannins even further integrated, a more rustic earthiness with licorice, cedar and pepper notes emerging; layered and elegant; a fantastic wine!
Vino Nobile de Montelpulciano Riserva DOCG 2010: This wine was crafted of 88% Sangiovese Prugnolo Gentile and 12% Colorino; deep garnet in the glass; red and black fruit and berries, spice, earthiness, savory herbal notes, touch of minerality; powerful yet refined on the palate with great structure and balance of acidity and tannins; beautiful wine; aged in Slovenian oak casks from 28 to 32 months then in the bottle for several more months; this wine can be further aged after purchase in proper conditions for decades. Є32
Vino Nobile de Montepulciano Riserva DOCG 2009: This wine was crafted of 85% Sangiovese Prugnolo Gentile, 10% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon; deep garnet in the glass; deep clean red and black fruits with spice, minerality and earthiness, great acidity, well-structured wine with a long silky finish; each wine is individually aged in Slovenian oak casks for 28 to 32 months, then the wine is blended and further aged in the bottle for several more months before release; this wine can be aged for decades. Є39
Vin Santo Familiae DOC 2003: This wine was crafted of dried Trebbiano, Malvasia and Grechetto grapes; golden amber in the glass; orange blossoms, orange rind, dried apricots and a touch of toasted almonds; very smooth, perfectly sweet; a stunning dessert wine; aged in “caratelli” barrels 20-50 liters in size crafted of various woods, sealed without oxygen, fermentation of natural yeasts, for 4-5 years with influence of temperatures of all four seasons. Unique in its craftsmanship and taste! Є30
More about Poderi Boscarelli from their web site:
The story began in 1962 with founder Egidio Corradi’s dream of producing a noble wine that exalts the aromas and flavors of his native land while imparting the elegance he loved. his infinite passion for wine and deep knowledge of his home region induced him to buy two semi-abandoned small farms in Cervognano of Montepulciano, a stunning corner of old Etruscan Tuscany. The ancient soils had long been cultivated in the traditional way with different annual crops and small vineyards. Egidio’s dream and vision were embraced and invigorated by his daughter Paola and her husband Ippolito De Ferrari. Driven by their strong determination and dedication, they started Poderi Boscarelli in the ’60s. The development that followed brought renewed life to the age-old farming estate as Paola and Ippolito planted their first specialized vineyards at a density of 3,500 plants per hectare. They also built the first winery by renovating and adapting old stables. The original spirit of the estate has now passed to the third generation of the family. Each day Luca and Nicolò De Ferrari, sons of Paola and Ippolito, bring that same passion to wine production as they work to infuse each bottle with the aromas and flavors that Grandpa Egidio loved and searched for. Luca and Nicolò reselect and replant vineyards that continue to express the scents and range of characteristics of the incredible land that nurtures them.
We respect and maximize the expression of our different soils and clones, recognizing they are distinctive and unique.
These principles constitute our philosophical beliefs applied to oenology.
Our commitment starts directly in the vineyard with intensive care for grapevines and continues during harvest with differentiation of grapes according to the age of plants as well as close attention to optimum ripeness and soil composition. Fermenting each selection separately, our yearly harvest produces at least 30 different cuvées. After separate aging and few weeks before bottling, they are joined in final cuts depending on their own characteristics. This process requires a lot of work but it allows for the deepest expression of the character of each plot.
Every single bottle expresses this special care and the complexity of characteristics, precisely what we try to convey to each of our wines.
Wine Spectator’s October 31, 2015, edition featured “Tuscan Treasures.” On the cover was a bottle of Boscarelli’s Vino Nobile de Montepulciano 2012; inside the wine is singled out as a leader of the 2012 vintage and awarded 93 points. Furthermore, writer, senior editor and Tuscan wine specialist Bruce Sanderson said the Boscarelli 2012 is one of the top reds from Tuscany. This small, family owned and run winery is not glamor and flair. They simply work hard to make the best wines their terrior and skills allow. You simply must try these wines.
As I said in my article “Welcoming the Sun at Avignonesi Winery,” I strongly encourage you to order these wines direct from the winery and have them shipped to you. The prices are better (the US SRP on Boscarelli’s 2012 Vino Nobile de Montepulciano is $37 or more) and the shipping rates are CHEAPER than shipping within the US. Italian wineries love foreigners. They do most of their business DIRECT to consumers all over the world through their web site and tasting rooms. Last week I shipped one bottle of wine from Dallas to Philadelphia UPS Ground. It cost me $19.50. Shipping rates from Italy to the US are Є8 a bottle. That is less than half of what it cost me to ship to PA. Ask some of your friends if they want a few bottle and order a half or a whole case direct from Boscarelli’s web site. You will be glad you did!
My Song Selection: I am choosing to pair my wonderful Boscarelli experience and their delicious wines with a band who has been a perennial favorite of mine since the early 90’s. I have seen them three times in concert, each time as an opening act, and they completely wowed the crowd every time. They are the band you don’t think about but when someone mentions them you say oh yeah I like that band. They are a band who quietly works hard and continues to produce great music and put on great shows; like Boscarelli, no frills, hard work, quiet, unassuming, fantastic wines!
Get your own bottles of Boscarelli (order direct) and let me know what song you pair with them. Cheers!