Posted by: tomciocco | April 2, 2013

THE BEST MARRIAGE IN CENTRAL ITALY?

Keeping of course to the main focus of this blog, I’m talking about grapes…People? Who knows?… Anyway, the breadth and (mostly) length of Italy is brimming with blended wines of  all kinds – red, white, and more recently, pink too. Tonight’s wine was a red from the sadly somewhat oenologically and culinarily obscure Marche (MAR-keh) region, but it’s home to the happy couple nonetheless…

Marche is also home to a very fine and famous Italian white wine: Verdicchio (di Castello di Jesi and di Matelica), but ask from what region this wine comes, and there’s usually a long pause, and then most often a reply something like…”Tuscany?”. So when even the region’s most famous wine doesn’t easily associate itself with the Marche name, it’s no surprise that tonight’s Rosso Piceno wouldn’t either.

And you’d also think that the fact that Rosso Piceno is a pairing of Sangiovese and Montepulciano – two of Italy’s most famous, and arguably finest red grapes, that it would attract a little more attention – well, here’s a little…Though both Sangiovese and Montepulciano have been cultivated for a quite a long time in Marche, the former is of course most closely associated with Tuscany, and the latter’s full name, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, clearly gives away its origins. And though there are a few other regions in which these two varieties can meet in the company of a few other varieties as well, Rosso Piceno is the one in which these two varieties can meet on more or less equal ground, with little to no interference from other varieties (the actual blend regulations are 35%-85% Montepulciano, 15%-50% Sangiovese, and up to 15% other local red varieties), and a lot of ground it is too – the D.O.C. includes the entirety of the territory of the provinces of Ascoli Piceno, Fermo, Macerata, and Ancona, which means there are scores of various and interesting terroirs in which these two great grapes can live happily ever after in…

So why, after all, are these two grapes so damned great together? Well, like any great marriage, each has just what the other needs to fill the other’s voids. Sangiovese brings its lean, acidic, complex red fruit, and Montepulciano contributes its roundness, balanced tannins, and a lightly spicy dark fruit, and both varieties seem to intuitively understand how to give the other a chance to shine without losing its own best qualities in the process…

Tonight’s dinner was nothing more and nothing less than another 100% home-made…PIZZA – this one with broccoli cooked with garlic, anchovies, and red pepper flakes.

4-2-13.3

4-2-13

Brunori Rosso Piceno “Torquis” 2011 

Slightly brownish, just translucent, medium garnet color. Evocative, place driven, flavors of grilled peaches, dusty cherry, and black raspberry fruit, supported by clear notes of wet slate, cocoa, violet, dill, and subtle marine aromas. The texture is supple and velvety, with an overall medium-full body, with chalky, finely abrasive tannins, and rustically elegant and crunchy black plum, wild blueberry, and strawberry preserve fruit, followed by big flavors of black licorice and roasted mixed nuts on the long finish. 

 

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