A Very NOBLE Italian Wine
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano has nothing to do with the grape named Montepulciano usually coming from Abruzzo. Montepulicano is a municipality in Tuscany producing a wine mostly comprised of Sangiovese. Confused yet? Vino Nobile is one of Tuscany’s most renowned red wines. Though it often falls in the shadows of neighboring Chiantis, Brunello, or Super Tuscans, Nobile was the first DOCG wine to appear on the Italian market. A favorite amongst influential Italian Kings, Popes, and Presidents, the wine has been celebrated throughout history as the wine of the NOBLES (hence its name). Even our own third President and fine wines expert, Thomas Jefferson, fell under the spell of Vino Nobile, stating, “For the present I confine myself to the physical want of some good Montepulciano…this being a very favorite wine and habit having rendered the light and high flavored wines of a necessary of life with me. It was most superlatively good.”
By law, Nobile can only be produced from vineyards surrounding the town of Montepulciano. The wine is made predominantly from Sangiovese, known as Prugnolo Gentile amongst locals, which must occupy at least 70 percent of the blend. However, many producers forgo their allowance to blend and make their top Nobile from 100 percent Sangiovese. The wine is aged for a minimum of two years. One of those years takes place in oak barrels or casks, and it must be aged for three years total for the wine to be labeled riserva.
La Calonica Winery
The Agricultural Estate La Calonica was founded in 1973 by the Cattani family who still supervises directly its production and sales, and covers about 45 hectares on the border of the provinces of Siena and Arezzo, between the Municipalities of Montepulciano and Cortona (Cortona is famous for the film “Under The Tuscan Sun”) on a crest at about 350 meters above sea level, not far from Lake Trasimeno. The wines produced fall under the production regulations of important and well-established DOCG and DOC such as Nobile and Rosso di Montepulciano and the most recent DOC di Cortona. The lands are located at optimal altitudes and exposure and are characterized by a largely clayey texture, with occasional sand outcrops.
The Cattani Family
La Calonica in Florida is another great Italian Selection of Italian Wine Importer Nadia Galati and her husband ..what’s his name…oh yeah Chris lol from Alberello Imports. In Florida La Calonica are exclusive Sourced and Certified by ABC Fine Wine and Spirits and are retail exclusives to ABC in Florida. Not only the history of this winery for me going back to 2009 and my first of 2 visits in 2010, the warmth and hospitality of the Cattani Family is a lifetime memory for me. The pictures are over 9 years old and I aged but The Cattanis seem to never age.
The Infamous Fernando Cattani
Esther Cattani and I (Why Did I Use Just for Men?)
Giovanni Cattani With Nadia Galati…Awwww
2015 La Calonica Vino Nobile Di Montepuliciano
2015 seems to be great for everything in Tuscany I have tasted so far. Remember by law, Vino Nobile has to be minimum 70% Sangiovese or Prugnolo Gentile and this is 95% Sangiovese with only 5% of Canaiolo blended in. The grapes are picked and harvested entirely by HAND. The must (Skins , Seeds, Stems, Juice ) ferments in steel tanks. The maceration lasts 15 days at a temperature of 26 ° C. After the fermentation the wine makes a passage still in the steel tanks to decant and then placed in medium-sized oak casks and barriques, where it remains in aging for 24 months and beyond.
It’s been far too long I have had a Vino Nobile. Why you ask? Like most lovers of Italian wine we get caught up with Chianti, Brunello, Super Tuscans etc but yet one of the most age worthy wines that Kings, Popes and Presidents loved so much made with the same Sangiovese is often forgotten besides it’s better valued price. The 2015 La Calonica is a dark garnet color in the glass. Very aromatic Tuscan nose of Marasca Cherry, Ripe Red Plum, Violets, Wild Game (For Me Lamb Chops All Day), Black Pepper. A Medium Plus frame and from tip of tongue to the back palate this is seriously well made wine. Juicy Red Berry Fruits, That hint of Bitter Cherry, Bright Acidity, sprinkles of Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Fresh Ground Pepper, Basil Leaf and very chewy but young tannins with a long lasting finish. The wine needs 3 more years but I can say this can be drank now or be very age worthy for the long run. I could pair this well with meats, barbecue, sharper cheeses or as simple as pizza, portobello mushrooms or believe it or not Chinese Food. I will score this 91 points out of 100 and I can see why Thomas Jefferson loved this wine so much.
As I spoke about in my VLOG it is all about QPR, quality to price ratio. I could go with a Brunello at $45, A Chianti Classico At $25, A Super Tuscan from Bolgheri for closer to $100 or why not 95% Sangiovese from Southern Tuscany aged in Oak for 2 years for $19.99 handcrafted by the Cattani Family?? The wine was delicious and I highly recommend this for a variety of palates. If it was good enough for Nobility, for under $20 you can treat yourselves like a KING!!
Grape-fully yours, Larry
Picture Taken By Esther Cattani
Under The Tuscan Sun-Set