When Montepulciano delivers


The last time I wrote about a knockout wine was back in July when I inadvertently wrote about the St. Pierre Rosé that we were just about to receive. Only after we were oversubscribed by almost 4 times did I realize my mistake – don’t write about a wine that has limited supply!

This time I don’t plan to make the same mistake – I have a palette in the wings if I need it. It’s a wine that I tasted just two days ago at a trade tasting in Tarrytown. Surprisingly it’s imported by one of my favorite Italian importers and whilst I did mention that I could not remember tasting it before he simply reminded me of my age and told me that I had a tendency to forget things! Either way… I tasted it on Tuesday and I loved it.

Fiamme Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Riserva DOC. So…those that know a thing or two about Italian wines know that Montepulciano can be either quite good or downright rank. Rarely is it extremely good but at the better end it does afford very good value. Sadly though you have to wade through 99% rubbish before you hit pay dirt – rather like politics. On the rare occasion that you get a great Montepulciano it usually sees a sticker price higher than its value.  Enter Fiamme Montepulciano Riserva.

The wine blew me away. It has all the qualities of a ‘crowd pleaser’ but with something extra. A ‘crowd pleaser’ wine is what we call a simple wine that has nothing to dislike, it’s not excellent but we think that, at its price, you, our customers will enjoy it. Think of it as our version of that horrible little Australian wine that other stores stack in the front door and proclaim it to be the nirvana of crowd pleasing wines – you know the one…yellow…Fiamme was everything I look for in a crowd pleasing wine but it also packed some interesting side arms. It had tannin. It had more than a single fruit flavor. It wasn’t masked by alcohol. It didn’t have an animal stuck on the label. But above all else it was a wine that had departed from the ‘crowd pleasing’ label and had become something much more serious. It is a full bodied red wine. Not overblown, definitely not sweet candy floss. Discerning flavors of black cherry, black currant and a hint of blackberry compote. This is not a wine that’s going to get a PhD. But then again it’s also not trying to run for President. It’s a serious wine for people that want to drink red wine every night and don’t have a billion dollars of bankrupt money. I was ‘blown away’.

It would sell at retail at around $15.00 per bottle. I went long the wine and we have it at $140 per case. Please don’t ask for bottles – this wine is far too good to buy by the bottle. Stock up on it, bring it out when you need it and I promise you that it will be gone before you know it. This is going to be my ‘go to’ wine when I get home, have nothing to eat, dogs are baying at the door and I just want to relax with some jazz and great wine.

There are 26 cases available. Early bird gets the Fiamme. Side note here, it’s been in my glass now for about 20 minutes whilst I wrote this and it tastes divine.