Category Archives: Sangiovese

Wines made with Sangiovese grapes

Montupoli Red Wine 2008 -Abruzzo, Italy

I’ll warn all of you ahead of time this review is going to be brutal. So if you’re squeamish turn away now. There will be blood and guts everywhere by the time I am done.

I bought this wine to pair up with a recipe of Pasta Bolognese that I intended to make for company that was coming (I had a nice vegetarian version up my sleeve by the way). The recipe called for a robust red wine and I also wanted a nice Italian wine to drink with the meal. So, of course, I headed to my local Total Wine store.

At the store I was assisted in my wine selection by one of their wine experts (though she was new to me so I knew I was taking a risk. I know a few people there that never steer me wrong…she wasn’t one of them I later found out.) I told her my requirements and she immediately suggested this ‘lovely’ Montupoli wine from Abruzzo, Italy. She said she always has this wine when she has Italian food. I trusted her! I also was intrigued by the fact that the wine was made with Sangiovese grapes. ‘How could that be bad?’ I thought to myself!

She also suggested a cheaper Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon (to be reviewed at a later date) for the recipe itself because no one really wants to cook with a more expensive wine after all. So with my treasures in hand I skipped home to start my cooking. Once home I discovered that my guest was not coming and so I put off the meal for another day.

A few days later I decided to open this ‘lovely’ Montupoli wine from Abruzzo, Italy and really enjoy it. I opened the bottle and I at once was not ‘at one’ with the smell. ‘Maybe that’s just the Sangiovese grapes’ I told myself. I bravely poured myself a glass and took a sip. It was HORRIBLE! I can’t even tell you what it tasted like but it was unlike any wine I’ve ever tasted. It actually tasted like it was formulated in a chemical plant to me. Absolutely AWFUL! This, my friends, is the first wine in a long time that I actually labeled ‘Undrinkable’. I saved it in my refrigerator with the hopes of at least cooking with it but I can’t bring myself to do that at all. It will be dumped…right after I finish writing this.

So my rating is this…I give it a rating of 4. It gets 2 points for having a cork rather than a screw top and 2 points for the mere fact that it was imported from Italy.

Maybe I got a bad bottle. That’s always a possibility but I am gun shy now and I probably won’t be trying another bottle of this wine any time soon. It was a wasted $9.99 in my opinion.

Interesting Wine Facts: Fact #1 – Serve at Room Temperature

Here I would like to introduce you to a new series of posts called ‘Interesting Wine Facts’. This is where I will share a few interesting facts that I’ve learned about wines recently. So without further ado here’s fact #1.

FACT #1: Red wine should be served at a temperature of 65 degrees.

Most people have heard that red wine should be served at room temperature and never put in the fridge. The fact is that in the old days in European wine country that was indeed true and for the most part is still true however, ‘room temperature’ there is different then say here in Florida. If I serve my red wine at room temperature you’re going to get a nice hot wine most of the time.

The fact is that it is best to serve wines at their suggested temperature rather than some arbitrary, nondescript instruction of ‘serve at room temperature’. The actual  serving temperature for most red wines is 65 degrees F. If you are in a cooler  climate you probably can achieve that by leaving the wine at ‘room temperature’ but if you’re in a warmer climate it’s perfectly okay to put the bottle in the refrigerator for an hour or so, use a bucket of ice to chill it for 15 to 20 minutes, or any other method to get it to reach its optimal temperature. No one is going to take your head off for doing that especially if they really know their wines.

Fratelli D’Italia Chianti 2009 – Tuscany

Description from Total Wine and More:

‘A delicious Chianti with ripe plum and raspberry aromas. Full-bodied, with velvety tannins and a long, fruity aftertaste. Montalbano, one of the seven Chianti subzones, is an ancient hill near Florence that was the hunting park of the Medici. {Fresh, Cherry, Plum, Medium-bodied}’

Price: $7.99

Type of Grape Used: Sangiovese

Region: Tuscany

This is my first taste of a Chianti. I am totally unfamiliar with what it’s supposed to be like so I can only rate it according to my first impressions. Maybe as I progress in my wine knowledge I’ll realize I missed something so if you’re a more accomplished wine connoisseur who can share some insight on this wine (or any other wine I sample) please feel free to educate me. That’s what I am here for!

I picked this 2009 Fratelli D’Italia (translated as: ‘Brothers of Italy) Chiani because I was making an Italian recipe that my brother sent me called ‘Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Basil’ and it called to be paired with a nice Chianti. Now my brother recommended a specific Chianti that he felt would match really well but alas my local Total Wine and More did not have that brand. So I was left alone to fend for myself in the unfamiliar world of Chianti.

Knowing absolutely nothing about Chianti’s and not having really made a connection with anyone at my Total Wine store yet, I quietly perused the Chianti aisle reading the recommendations and looking at all the pretty labels (I’ve told you before that this is how I generally pick wines…thus the reason for needing this education).

After trying to look like I knew what I was doing I quickly grabbed this bottle of Fratelli D’Italia Chianti because one, it was inexpensive (I’ll buy a more expensive wine if I know that I’ll like it or it was recommended. Otherwise this is usually my price range) and two, the label was…well…so Italian. With a label like that how could it NOT be good?

Upon opening the bottle at home my first impression was that it had a very fruity nose to it and it was very light bodied. My first taste was not what I expected. Again it could be just because I’ve never had a Chianti and I am usually a Merlot kind of gal so I expect red wines to be very complex and deep in flavor. This one was really light, not very bold, and bordering on bland.

After I let it breathe a bit it lost it’s fruity nose and I was left with nothing really remarkable to comment on.

Now before you think ‘Hell, she hated this wine’ I have to say that this wine is suggested for bold meals like red meats, roasts, and spicy Italian dishes. Knowing that and after a little thought I realized that maybe it’s the lightness of this wine that MAKES it great for those pairings. This wine was suggested to me to go with a spicy Italian meal and had it been any bolder or deeper of a wine I don’t know that it would have gone as well with the dish as it did.

The bottom line is that I feel it was a really drinkable wine yet slightly unremarkable. It didn’t make me go ‘Wow!’ or ‘Oh my God! This is great!’ It did it’s job by complimenting my delicious meal and left me satisfied. Again I have nothing to compare it with but I promise in the future I will try other Chiantis and then I’ll know better where this one stands.

Buzz Factor: 3, a very light bodied wine.

Overall Likability: 5, it didn’t leave a big impression on me. It just kind of fell in the ‘It’s okay’ category for now.