If I counted every bottle I have drank in the past three years and looked for a pattern or frequency within the results, the Montepulciano D'Abruzzo grape would stand out. This usually inexpensive, versatile, and easy to find wine has found its place next to many a pizza and homemade meat sauce in my home. Some have been surprisingly satisfying for the price, while others have been just plain nasty. Although I do have to say, that age had something to do with the worst ones I tried, as this grape is usually meant to be drank in its youth. Don't be surprised if you see quick reviews of Montepulcianos here frequently because my desire to find an affordable table wine adds to this obsession.
Dark red almost purple color. Nose consists of blackberries with a touch of forest. Full blackberry and black cherry flavor. Smooth texture and a soft herbal spicy finish. More complex than I expected. Overall an impressive bottle considering the price and varietal. I would buy this again. My grade: B
Ruby red color. Dark berries on the nose, not as fragrant as the Lilla. Full bitter cherry flavors. Crisp fruit flavor with very soft tannins. Very clean finish. No complaints with this bottle, although it doesn't really have any qualities that separate it from the average Montepulciano. My grade: B-
To kick off my first reviews of the Abruzzo region, I am posting a recipe from my great grandmother from the Cesacastina area of Teramo.
Crepes (recipe can be doubled):
4 eggs - beaten
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups romano cheese
2 cups flour
Mix ingredients. Heat a 8-inch, non-stick pan until hot and brush with olive oil. Reduce heat to medium and pour 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons batter into the pan. Shift pan to distribute evenly. Cook 60 seconds, until pale golden, and then flip. Cook on other side 20 seconds and remove to a plate. Continue the process until all the batter has been used.
ham bone or ham hock
2 large onions
3 large ribs of celery
3 large carrots
2 cans chicken broth
3 quarts water
Cook for 2 hours, slow simmer. Pour over crepes to serve. Add pepper and parsley to taste.