Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Wine Review: Avignonesi Nobile di Montalpulciano 2001 (NW)

Tangy, earthy nose
Fruit, olives, and moss on the palate
A little zip to the finish

Aah, Tuscany! I think I taste the Tuscan sun in this bottle. For anyone who's been to the hamlet of Montalpulciano in southern Tuscany, you probably have vivid memories of your experience. This may or may not be a good wine, but it will always taste like a romantic and enchanting wine because I first had it there. Montalpulciano is one of the strikingly improbably hill towns in Italy, perched on the edge of the sky like a ship out at sea. When you wind up the road to the center of the walled village, you cannot walk ten feet without encountering some local wines available for tasting and for sale. They are very proud of their wine, which arguably captures the "terroir" that is so elusive in other places in the world. This Avignonesi, for example, is so full of earth and olives that it seems to have been scooped out of the ground from a nearby terraced hillside.

If you want a solid Tuscan wine, look at Nobile di Montalpulciano. You'll spend less than a Brunello and get a different kind of experience than a Chianti. On this particular occasion, I paid $24 for a half bottle through room service at the Four Seasons, however, this wine can be found in the store for about $20 for a standard 750 mL bottle. Raise a glass of Tuscan sun!

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