What is in a name?
Recently, we had a conversation in the tasting room that seems to be a fairly common topic of discussion. We were discussing the Addison Farms Vineyard Montepulciano, our 2014 Red Dress. Our vineyard produces enough Montepulciano to make about one barrel of this wine annually. We had some new friends in the tasting room and one said, "I really like the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Is yours anything like that?"
In this case, the answer is no. The medieval hilltown of Montepulciano in southern Tuscany, southeast of Siena, produces a wonderful class of wine called Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. DOCG [Controlled and Guaranteed Denomination of Origin] regulated, the wine must be made of at least 85%... Sangiovese, not Montepulciano, grown in a specific area around the village of Montepulciano. So, like most wines from the Old World, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is denoted by its place, not the grape, though typically, the place also tells you the grape. For other Old World examples of place indicating the variety, we can look at Burgundy where permissible varieties are Pinot Noir [red burgundy] and Chardonnay [white burgundy], with Gamay in Beaujolais and a few other minor exceptions allowed. In Bordeaux, reds are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, and Petit Verdot, and in Bordeaux, the Left Bank wines are typically dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, while the Right Bank is dominated by Merlot and Merlot blends.
Back to Montepulciano: If you want to experience Italian Montepulciano [the variety not the place], the most likely source are the wines Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. The Abruzzo region is almost due east of Rome with a coastline along the Adriatic Sea, and about 275km southeast of the village of Montepulciano.
Our 2014 Red Dress will be available in the not-too-distant future. We bottled the wine in December 2015 after about 15 months in barrel, and we recently received the labels for that wine. Our 2014 Red Dress has a nice, rich color, notes of cherries on the nose, and a great structure. Red Dress will pair nicely with spaghetti Bolognese, porcini risotto, or a juicy steak. In our house, we are big fans of Montepulciano, so we are excited to share our interpretation of this fascinating grape with others.
On this Memorial Day weekend, take a moment to remember the service men and women who gave all while serving our country. Enjoy the lake, the hot dogs and beer, the time with your family and friends, but don't forget to take a moment to remember and appreciate the sacrifice our fallen service members made that gives us freedom.