Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is one of those appellations that has been eclipsed since the 1970s by big business interests. Like Chianti, it was one of Italy’s grape growing areas that swiftly aligned itself with the corporate agendas of the “me” generation.
Today, there is just a handful of producers who rise above the fray of the négociants: Fanetti, Crociani, Sanguineto, Godiolo…
They — all of whom make great wines — deserve mention here because another is about to join their ranks: last night I tasted a sample bottle of the Salcheto Rosso di Montepulciano Obvius and I was simply floored by how lip-smacking good it was.
According to the Salcheto site, the wine is made from organic grapes, vinified with ambient (naturally occurring) yeasts, and no sulfur is applied whatsoever.
But who cares???!!!
When I tasted it last night, I felt like I was living the junkie’s dream of that first high. It reminded me of that fateful bottle of Sangiovese that I drank at a friend’s father’s place in Montalcino paired with fried boar’s liver nearly 25 years ago. It was ELECTRIC!
This was the Sangiovese — the real Sangiovese, with classic notes of rich ripe plum and lip-splitting acidity — that I’ve been looking for all these years.
It’s that good… If you taste it and don’t like it, please send it to me.
It’s not currently available in the U.S. but hopefully the folks at Salcheto will be able to keep its pricing in line with their “not from grapes only” Rosso, which, according the WineSearcher, should weigh in under $25.
The packaging of the wine is the only thing that leaves something to be desired.
The winemaker calls it “Obvius, wine from grapes only.”
The adjective obvius can have many different meanings in Latin and I imagine that here the author of the wine uses obvius in the facile sense of obvious, easy of access (but it can also denote obnoxius to those who know ancient Latin).
Of course, the tag line, wine from grapes only raises the question: what are the other wines made of?
The wine is an example of a conventional winery — a good one, at that — using the current, laudable trend of chemical-free viticulture to reposition its brand.
But I believe that as misguided as the marketing may be, the fact that Italian wineries are embracing the “real wine” movement (for lack of a better qualifier) can only be a great thing for all of us.
Who cares what the producer writes on the label? What’s important is what’s inside. And mark my words, this one is a winner (especially if the winery can keep the price reasonable).