Another week, another montepulciano. I pick up bottles of this varietal quite often for these reviews, because it usually provides (and is, in fact, known for) being a great value buy. You can check out previous reviews of the varietal here, here and here. While montepulciano might never be a showcase wine to be used when you want to impress, it’s a great everyday label that provides good complexity and enough flavor to pair well with most food (Italian or otherwise.)
Today’s bottle comes from a vineyard that also operates a Massachusetts-based U.S. distributorship. The wine itself (a steal at $8 in a remainder bin) has been well-reviewed, and seems to be a mainstay of the distributorship. This particular wine is farmed organically and aged in stainless steel, and clocks in at 13 % alcohol by volume.
How does it look? The Masciarelli has a deep indigo color, and a light body that swirls with very thin legs. We’ll be expecting something dry and light-bodied here.
How does it smell? The smell has some nondistinct fruit notes, and that’s about it. This might have been more interesting when the wine was younger, but whatever we’re losing in aroma, we should make up in the smoothness of the flavor.
But how does it taste? This montepulciano has more of a flat taste than most of the bottles I’ve tried in this varietal. Tart, underripe fruit flavors of raspberry, peach, and green apple blend with some slight floral notes. The tannins are almost nonexistent, which isn’t surprising for a wine that’s already aged for three years; the absence leaves this a smooth, yet simple wine. There are some bitter earthy notes on the finish, like tobacco or coffee, that round out the flavor and clean the palate a bit, making this a more interesting wine than it would otherwise be. I find myself liking it a lot more at the end of the glass than at the beginning (which, no, doesn’t always happen — though most wines enjoy the same effect writ larger, and are more well-liked at the end of the bottle than at the beginning.)
What should I eat with it? I make a great risotto with proscuitto and peas that would go well with this; any other somewhat rich Italian fare would work as well, though I don’t think it’d pair well with anything tomato-based. (The fruit flavors are just a bit too dull and underripe to stand up to that.) The vintners suggest pizza, pasta, or burgers pair well with it; everyday food for an everyday wine sounds just about right.