Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a popular pick when you’re not sure what to get from “sort of” southern Italy. Actually Abruzzo is parallel to Rome, and there’s plenty of Italy south of it. It’s getting south, with summers pretty darn hot overall, but sea breezes adding zest to its most famous red, Montepulciano D’Abruzzo. Today’s wine is made by Citra, a big company with thousands of growers contributing to their extensive lineup. But “Niro,” the brand name of our sampling, is high up the Citra ladder for quality and typicity. Long maceration on grape skins and selection from their older vines makes this a sumptuous choice for winter gatherings.
2016 Niro Montepulciano D’Abruzzo DOC $16 srp
Purple to intense ruby in color. Very ripe nose of plum compote, desiccated black fruits with fresh herbs standing out in the bouquet. Flavors are concentrated, compact and vibrant. The wine has a creamy texture but is neither heavy nor obviously alcoholic. It creates a warmth that will be welcome on these cold winter evenings. Think pasta Bolognese, lamb, stock pot soups or a mushroom-based pasta casserole. Drink now-2020. Good value.