New World Italian Wine - It's Guaranteed

The Italian wine industry willingly goes modern.


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It isn't every day when the Italian wine industry willingly goes modern. So take note of the fact that on the eastern side of the country, in a small section of the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo DOC, a select group of wineries is openly embracing the often criticized new-world style of winemaking.

Three years after the establishment of the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Colline Teramane DOCG, wines from this "guaranteed," high-quality cut of the Abruzzi, are first hitting the American market. Made entirely from the Montepulciano grape (and having nothing to do with Vino Nobile de Montepulciano), we're talking about wines made from fruit that is grown only in the region's very best vineyards. The end result is polished gems of substance: rich, ripe and rewarding, yet balanced and food-friendly. Think Napa Cabernet Sauvignon or higher-end Australian Shiraz for measuring purposes. Among the producers to watch for, personal favorites include: Illuminati's "Zana"; Lepore's "Re"; Monti's "Pignotto"; Stefania Pepe's "Pepe Nero"; and Villa Medoro's "Adrano." Average retail price for these wines is about $40.

Colline Teramane DOCG, ordained in 2003, is one of only 30 Italian DOCs in which the growing and winemaking standards are so high as to spur the "guaranteed" qualifier. In Colline Teramane wines carrying the riserva label must age for at least three years in oak and bottle before release, thus the arrival of these impressive 2003s.

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