Posted by: tomciocco | May 5, 2012

TWO ITALIAN GIANTS MEET IN ROSSO PICENO

The two giants in question are not Primo Carnera and Bruno Sammartino and Rosso Piceno is not the name of the venue for the fight card. The two giants in fact are (shockingly) grapes –  Sangiovese and Montepulciano, and Rosso Piceno is the name of an extensive appellation in The Marche.

Strangely, despite what I’ve always thought to be the chemistry between the deep plumpness of Montepulciano and the edgey complexity of Sangiovese, there are precious few appellations that allow for a combination of the two. Like I said above, Rosso Piceno can be made almost anywhere in the fairly large region of Marche, so that means that there’s Rosso Piceno, and there’s Rosso Piceno. The regulation’s permissable yields might be a bit too high, but lots of producers severely restrict their harvests as a matter of common practice. And again, because of the extension of the zone, some of the terroirs  range from just passable to truly distinctive.

So as I’m not prone to wasting your time or mine on sketchy wines, tonight’s bottle is undoubtedly one of the good ones. The Rosso Piceno disciplinare (the specific whats and wherefores of grape blend percentages, aging requirements, etc.) allows for a wide swing in the percentages of Sangiovese and Montepulciano. This evening’s blend was produced exclusively from the Montetinello vineyard in the town of Spinetoli. Montetinello’s situation close to the sea makes it a warm site; this in addition to the vineyard’s dense plantation, and the blend’s heavy lean on Montepulciano (70%) over Sangiovese (30%) make this wine one of the giants of its type.

Big wine, big food. First course: bucatini all’ amatriciana. Second course/side: Thick-cut boneless porkchops oven-braised with cannellini beans, white wine, garlic, sage, rosemary, and a touch of paprika.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saladini Pilastri Rosso Piceno “Montetinello” 2008

Very deep and saturated crimson-rimmed deep purple color. Cleanly complex and layered nose of mocha, mushroom, old leather, boiled vegetables, toasty sap, plum nectar, morello cherry juice, and asian spices. The palate is big, rich, broad, deep, and powerful, but still balanced and elegant with a crunchy, fresh and softly chunky earthy blackcurrant and strawberry fruit. Very long and intense fruit leather finish. 

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