Saturday, May 23, 2009

Say It with Me Now

62. 2004 Farnese Montepulciano d'Abruzzo (Colline Teramane DOCG - Italy)

This was one of the wines that I picked up at this year's Playhouse Wine Festival. I always wonder, when opening a Festival purchase, if it's going to live up to the pressure of being one of the wines that I highlighted during the tastings.

Luckily, this wasn't one of those "what was I thinking" moments.

Farnese has been making wines in the Abruzzo area for centuries. The area is the fifth-largest wine-producing region in Italy; however, despite the popularity of the montepulciano grape as the base for young, quaffable wines and for blending (when allowed by local restrictions) in the rest of the country, Abruzzo itself hasn't generally been seen as consistently producing quality wines.

As in almost all winemaking regions, there has been some attempt to modernize and improve standards over the last decade. One step that Abruzzi winemakers took, in 2003, was to create a sub-appellation for the Colline Teramane DOCG where cropping limits were reduced in an attempt to attain a higher flavour profiles and stature in the wine world. This wine is a result of those efforts.

A few years back, Farnese garnered itself a reputation in Vancouver as producing a popular line of well-priced (read "cheap and cheerful") wines. It has shown up on a number of "Best Of..." lists for wines costing under so many dollars.

At $25, this wine is more than twice as much as most Farnese wines cost in the city, but I think it would fare well in a direct taste with its less expensive cousins. Only "problem" is that I don't know where you can buy it in the city. It was a specialty listing only available at the Festival.

I'm going to keep my eye open for more improvement with wines from Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. If for no other reason that I love saying it. How fun is that? A wine that's good both rolling off the tongue and onto it.

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