Warm Up With This Perfect Winter Wine

Warm Up With This Perfect Winter Wine

A popular Italian red from the Abruzzo region of Italy

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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.

88/100 points

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Arturo Ciompi
Trained as a classical clarinetist and conductor, Arturo plied his trade for many years in New York, performing with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New York City Opera, the American Symphony and countless chamber music groups. While living in Durham, Arturo became the wine manager at two iconic gourmet stores: Fowler’s in Durham and Southern Season in Chapel Hill. He had a wine spot on NPR in the ’90s and has been a continuously published wine journalist since 1997. He has won national awards for his work and is currently writing for Durham Magazine and its weekly blog, “Wine Wednesdays”. In addition, he loves teaching the clarinet. Read more on his website.