Ruby color; black cherry, forest floor, plum, spice, meat, leather on rich nose; lush dark fruits, blackberry, dark cherry, sour cherry, cocoa, blackcurrant tang on the palate.
Luxuriously rich in the mouth, integrated oak. There is an attractive wildness to the assault of flavors—you know you are in for an exciting Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ride, with flavors coming in waves from attack, to mid-palate, to finish. Round, some tannic bite on the finish, some acidity, but mostly this comes across as rich and full. You know you are drinking a powerful, medium-full bodied wine with tastes you have not quite experienced before.
Montepulciano is a grape and should not be confused with Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, a Tuscan wine made with sangiovese grapes.
Gianni Masciarelli established the Masciarelli Tenute Agricole estate in 1978 near the small village of San Martino. He soon became a leading figure in producing premium wines and modernizing wine making in the d’Abruzzo region; Gainni particularly championed red Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and white Trebbiano d’Abruzzo grapes. Before Gianni’s influence, the Abruzzo region on the east coast of Italy, due east of Rome, was known for cheap, drinkable wines that lacked distinction and were most famous for “turning people’s teeth purple.” Gianni was the major force in changing that.
Gianni met Belgrade-born Marina Cvetic in 1987; they married in 1989, and upon Gianni’s unfortunate heart attack death in 2008 (at age 53) Marina took full control of the operation. She has succeeded in ways that certainly would make her late husband proud. Masciarelli is among the most respected wineries in the region, likely only surpassed by legendary Edoardo Valentini, but Valentini wines are very hard to find and cost several multiples of the Masciarelli efforts. If you want to experience high quality Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, this is the go-to label. $25-31
Other photos: Marina Cvetic Masciarelli, Gianni Masciarelli, Masciarelli winery, Masciarelli vineyard