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04 December 2006

O Noble

Montepulciano There are an abundance of grapes in northern Italy's brooding reds that begin with the letter 'B': Barolo, Barbaresco and Barbera. Sliding a bit south to Tuscany, we discover another 'B' - unknown to most wine drinkers.  In fact, in this region where Chianti and Prada-like SuperTuscans reign supreme, this 'B' is altogether anonymous.  Don't believe me?  Take the one-question quiz:

Q:  What is the name of the grape variety used to produce Vino Nobile di Montepulciano?

'A' on the flip....

A: The grape used in V.N.d.M is Sangiovese*

*Yes, yes, I know.  The last time you checked, Sangiovese didn't begin with the letter 'B'.  However, it's all true - the secret in Vino Nobile is Sangiovese - albeit a tough-skinned clone called, Brunello (AKA Sangiovete Grosso or Prugnolo Gentile).  Where Sangiovese snuggles up to the tongue like a perfectly fitting pair of Jordache jeans, Brunello/Prugnolo G. upbraids the taste buds like a stiff pair of, uh, Toughskins denim.  Never let it be said that I couldn't compare a wine grape to offbrand jeans from Sears Roebuck & Co.

Vndm The Skinny
Fattoria Del Cerro Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2003 ($20)

  • 13.5% ABV; imported by Vias Imports
  • 90% Prugnolo Gentile (Sangiovese/Brunello), 5% Colorino, 5%,Canaiolo Nero and Mammolo.  Aged 18 months in Slavonian oak casks (30% in French barriques) and 6 months in bottle.
  • Inky indigo in color with a bright pink rim.
  • This Vino Nobile offers up a compelling scent trio of blackcurrant, cedar and anise.
  • Taste carefully.  Fattoria Del Cerro introduces itself to your palate with juicy berry flavors.  However, just as you relax to enjoy the wine, you're bound to get walloped by a heavy duty tannic grip, which holds on through the herbal - what-if-Ricola-made-wine - finish.
  • Take care to pair this wine with foods sporting a tannin-friendly layer of fat.  Try it with proscuitto, grilled steak or a helluva meatball.
  • Verdict: Recommended


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