Montepulciano: Rachel Ray’s Hideaway

By October 4, 2012Winemakers

I hadn’t known that Rachel Ray fell in love with Montepulciano until one of our participants told me today but I understand totally why. It’s a wine lovers’s hideaway with a deep viticultural history and it’s a gorgeous town of 5000 souls.

Montepulciano landscape

We started today with a visit to Talosa winery. Our  mid-sized bus could only go so far until the narrow streets restricted our going any further. Luckily Christian, Talosa’s winemaker, was able to drive down and pick up a few people who had trouble negotiating the steep ascent. We tasted the Rosso di Montepulciano ’10 which had 70% sangiovese, the minimum allowed by regulations. It was a pretty light wine. The other wines we tasted had much more body and complexity: Vino Nobile ’08 with 90% sangiovese and 10% merlot; and the Vino Nobile Riserva ’07, 100% sangiovese from 35 year old vines that spent over 4 years aging. The Talosa winery is located in a building from the 1500’s and there was even an Etruscan tomb dating to 3BC!

Our lunch at Gattavecchi

Next we went to Gattavecchi where we were greeted by Daniela Gattavecchi and led on a tour of their historical cellars dating from the 1200’s! Then lunch in their vaulted dining room from the middle ages; and what a menu! Sister-in-law Lilian prepared 2 different antipasti accompanied by Rosso di Montepulciano Poggio alla Sala ’10 which went perfectly with the liver paté and cold cuts. Then we had two main courses: roast pork alla Poliziana with almond purée and roasted potatoes accompanied by Nobile Gattavecchi ’09. The other course was wild boar stew with a salad and Nobile Riserva Gattavecchi ’07 as well as Nobile Selezione Parceto ’07, a limited production wine that was so delicious that I bought a bottle to bring home. We topped off this extraordinary lunch with a pudding of Pecorino cheese accompanied by Gattavecchi vin santo di Montepulciano Gattavecchi ’03.

We had the opportunity to walk off part of this lunch as we made our way to another historical winery: Contucci where we had their top 4 wines. The Nobile ’08 was definitely typical Montepulciano at its best with balanced acidity, red berry fruit and a touch of leather. But the next 3 wines stole the show: Nobile Pietra Rossa ’08 from clay soil which added a softness; Nobile Mulinvecchio ’08 with a bit more complexity from grapes grown on sandy soil ( a great comparison since the 2 parcels are contiguous, same grape composition of 80% sangiovese;) and Nobile Riserva ’07 which received 4 years of aging.

We all came away from our day in Montepulciano with a much better appreciation of how drinkable, and enjoyable these wines are. They are worth the search.

Tomorrow on to Montalcino!

Author Vin Marottoli

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