Posted by: tomciocco | August 24, 2008

DIAL M FOR MINGLER

As I sat sipping a glass of Malbec with dinner the other night I was thinking that though I love Malbec solo and don’t necessarily feel it to be inherently “lacking” for the most part, there are lots of critics and members of the drinking public that feel that Malbec lacks that last bit of crackle to stand alone…

And then the one time “it” grape, but now unfortunately “C” list variety Merlot came to mind…same deal here: In the very best conditons, excellent if not superb (see Petrus) as a stand-alone variety, but more often than not better in mixed company…

And then Mmmmontepulciano bubbled up. I am also a big fan of unblended Montepulciano, but the perception remains that straight Montepulciano isn’t much more than “pizza/pasta” wine. I think that that assessment is a bit off base for several reasons, but I also have to admit that a few of the very best Montepulciano performances I’ve witnessed came co-starring with Sangiovese in a Rosso Piceno from Marche…

Mmmmazuelo too! (I thought) Though perhaps better known by the moniker Carignan, this same vine variety is known in Rioja as Mazuelo or Mazuela, where it is BLENDED with the nobler Tempranillo, among other things, but the Sardinia and the Sardinians, some of whom claim the variety as theirs, have a way with pure Carignan (Mazuelo) wines that is hard to challenge…

What about Malvasia? Charmingly aromatic, but usually needs a little discipline from a more acidic variety to highlight its best features…But if it’s the Malvasia del Lazio sub-variety we’re talking about, no other varieties need apply…

And Mmmmonastrell for that matter – even most big bad Bandols have get a shot or two of Grenache to inject a little levity into Monastrell’s otherwise sanguine demeanor…but then again, there are a few old, heavy-hittin’ producers who still like their Bandols inky black and go 100%…

Ultimately, I don’t know where the hell I’m going with any this, but it is a little odd that all of these M grapes are renowned vinous minglers, comfortable and even at their best in a chorus of grapes, but remain for some drinkers, grown in certain terroirs, and from the cellars of certain gifted winemakers, prime examples of stand-alone, noble varieties…Mmmmmm……

TOM CIOCCO

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: