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Wine Community / Vignadelmar | Published DoctorWine N°28
Piceno and Montepulciano
by Vignadelmar 12-11-2013

While I have never met the talented Gambero Rosso journalist Alessandro Bocchetti in person, we have been in contact via internet for years. He is from the Abruzzo region and I am from the Marche and we both share a passion for wines made from Montepulciano grapes. We are also both equally convinced that our respective regions make the better wines. He is obviously wrong. Unfortunately for him, even the whites from Abruzzo are inferior to the Marche ones but maybe it would be better not to tell him that, losing 2-0 is no fun!
Joking aside, the lovely Piceno hills are indeed the ideal for growing Montepulciano and it is no coincidence that most of the clones of this grape, even those used in Abruzzo, originate in the Marche and even the Valentini family, those immense Abruzzo winemakers, is originally from the Marche (which makes it 4-0).
In the past ten years a host of small winemakers have started up production in the area of Piceno. Before winegrowers there used to sell their grapes to cooperatives but when these began having trouble some growers decided to convert their vineyards to different uses, while others set up their own wineries and pumped new blood and ideas into the sector. As I did in my piece on Piceno whites, here again I will focus on small producers, the craftsmen. This is by no means a complete panorama of the territory but I hope it will serve as an introduction, something to spark your curiosity to know more about this blessed area of the Marche region.
Montepulciano grapes are also used to make Rosso Conero and are, in any case, widely used throughout the Marche. It is a high-yield, robust and bold grape that gives a wine backbone, personality, structure and very long life. It is also very versatile but in order to obtain the best results it needs to be ‘tamed’ and this is not always easy. The following wines are made using diverse approaches and I hope I have been able to capture the different nuances. This tour among the various producers would not have been possible without my ‘guides’, Marco and Eleonora Casolanetti, the owners of the Oasi degli Angeli winery of which we have already spoken of at length. At the risk of being monotonous, I would like to thank them yet again, from the heart, for their readiness to help, their friendship and hospitality.

K’un 2010
Marche Igt
Clara Marcelli

Rating » 86
Category » Red
Region » Marche
Country » Italy

This first wine is 100% Montepulciano with the grapes grown on a hillside according to certified organic methods, after which they are fermented in steel vats under temperature-controlled conditions and then aged in barriques. The wine has a very dark, almost black and slightly opaque color. The aroma is an explosive yet elegant bouquet of red fruits and some spicy notes. The mouthfeel is bold and the flavor has earth and underbrush.

16 euros

Cosecose 2012
Marche Igt
Valter Mattoni

Rating » 81
Category » Rosé
Region » Marche
Country » Italy

Valter ‘The Rock’ Mattoni really knocked me out with this rosé made using Montepulciano grapes and barriques, after which he put it in potbellied bottles sealed with crown caps, and it really knocked me out. Initially, the wine has an ugly color and is quite smelly, almost stinky. I was told to cover the mouth of the glass with the palm of my and shake the contents vigorously. After doing this the wine literally transformed before my eyes, both its color and its organoleptic characteristics, which are primarily mou caramel and cotton candy. A ‘strange’, robust wine that is just so good.

13 euros

Arshura 2011
Marche Igt
Valter Mattoni

Rating » 92
Category » Red
Region » Marche
Country » Italy

Here is a true champion with an impenetrable color, a ‘big’ Montepulciano and the kind I really like. The average age of the vines is some 35 years and their roots go deep into the clay soil. The wine ages in used barriques that give an excellent harmony to the kaleidoscope of its components. The bouquet has an immediate aroma of coffee and a touch of olive brine, followed by dark spices. The mouthfeel is juicy, taut, tannic yet, at the same time, elegant. I also tried his 2010 (rated 89) and 2006 (an 86), the latter being the first year of production.

25 euros

Grifola 2005
Marche Igt
Poderi San Lazzaro

Rating » 90
Category » Red
Region » Marche
Country » Italy

Yet another ‘big’ wine made from only Montepulciano grapes that are certified organic and aged in barriques. The structure has such a lift its almost takes your breath away, a very dark, impenetrable color with bright reflections. The aroma is very intense, almost hypnotic, and it would take a month to identify all its components completely. Nevertheless, the first scents to emerge clearly are those of red fruit, rose, traces of Mediterranean brush and a balsamic note. The mouthfeel is very tannic and if you wanted to split hairs you could say it is not as varied as the aroma. In any case, it is most drinkable wine that will have a long life.

20 euros

Erasmo Castelli 2008
Marche Igt
Maria Pia Castelli

Rating » 89
Category » Red
Region » Marche
Country » Italy

This last, 100% Montepulciano is the one with the lowest level of alcohol but is by no means a small, everyday wine, quite the opposite. The aroma is varied with suggestions of ash, prune, thyme and slight notes that recall the toasting of the aging barriques. There are also some distinct wild and rustic notes, the ones I like so much. The structure of the mouthfeel plays on ripe fruit and elegant tannins, the product of aging at length first in barriques and later in the bottle, together with sweet spice. All this makes the wine very easy to drink and in no way commonplace.

25 euros

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Poderi San Lazzaro
Producer Paolo Capriotti
Contrada San Lazzaro, 8
63073 Offida AP
Phone +39 0736 889189 - Cell +39 335 8252640
web www.poderisanlazzaro.it
email info@poderisanlazzaro.it
Valter Mattoni
Via Pescolla, 1
63030 Castorano AP
Phone +39 0736 87329
web -
email w.mattoni@libero.it
Clara Marcelli
Producer Emanuele e Daniela Colletta
Via Fonte Vecchia, 8
63030 Castorano AP
Phone +39 0736 87289
web www.claramamrcelli.it
email info@claramarcelli.it
Maria Pia Castelli
Producer Enrico Bartoletti e Maria Pia Castelli
Contrada Sant'Isidoro, 22
63813 Monte Urano FM
Phone +39 0734 841774 - Fax +39 0734 841774
web www.mariapiacastelli.it
email info@mariapiacastelli.it
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