MCF Rare Wine
Amorotti: An Abruzzese Gem Unearthed
My friend, the importer Jan d'Amore, emailed me the other day with the subject line 'A Serendipitous Find in the Heart of Abruzzo', and it certainly grabbed my attention.
Now, I love wines from Abruzzo...
...but, what really grabbed my attention was that for an honest, low-key guy like Jan to use such language in his subject line, the wines he was referencing to be pretty special.
The body of the email read as follows -
Last year, while visiting the Valentini family in Loreto Aprutino, they introduced me to their next door neighbor Gaetano. We went down to his ancient cellars and tasted the first releases of Amorotti, wines of purity, depth and elegance. Perhaps it is the proximity to Valentini, or maybe his help in selecting the right clones and barrels for this young winery, a sort of pupil for Valentini...but there is an aura of magic in these wines that left me spellbound.
I think my response was just the 'thumbs up' emoji.
He brought them by on Tuesday and, after tasting all three, well...I'd say 'spellbound' is a pretty good description of how I felt.
I don't want to lean too heavily on the whole 'Valentini Connection', but there is definite stylistic similarity, most specifically on the Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2017. There's that wonderfully aromatic, savory/metallic element that is so signature to Valentini's Trebbiano here, but in a more approachable style and at less than half the price.
This certainly isn't a straightforward, fresh/crisp/aromatic Trebbiano - it does lean toward the funkier/interesting side, for sure - but it doesn't also doesn't skew so heavily into the 'adventurous' (for lack of a better work) territory as, say, a Pepe or Valentini Trebbiano would. The texture and purity are just so lovely here.
Next up is the Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo 2017, Abruzzo's famous Rosato of Montepulciano. This is another fantastic expression - it's as classically dark pink as you'd expect, made only of the free run juice, and it mixes the wonderful berry fruits and firm structure perfectly, while expressing those wonderful savory/smoky/stony nuances throughout.
If you've ever had Torre dei Beati's Cerasuolo, you could use that as a mental starting point, but step up the structure and overall complexity, and you'll have a pretty good idea of what to expect. It's a truly lovely example of this style and is also another great example of a Rosé that will age nicely, as well.
Finally, we have the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2016, which is such a supple, pure and congenial expression, that you might not even notice, at first, what a seriously deep and complex wine you're experiencing. It really is that enjoyably smooth, red and fragrant, but as the hours progress, more and more earthy nuance begins to emerge. It's such a classic expression of the type of Montepulciano that I really like. It's a carefully, traditionally made wine that is aged in old barrels, thereby endowing with an extra level of depth and structure without over-polishing Montepulciano's true, beautifully rustic nature, but also not skewing it too far in the light/fruity direction, either. I have no problem with the light/fruity ones, but this is just how I like it best.
(I'll talk more about that subject in a month or so when another amazing Montepulciano from Colle Trotta arrives...)
While this is certainly more expensive than what most Americans have come to expect from Montepuciano d'Abruzzo, it's still an awful lot of wine for $42, and when you compare it to the Valentini/Pepe wines that I feel it's striving toward, you'll really understand the true value.
With all the great, unique wine out there these days, it's easy to think that there's nothing left to discover. Then you taste something like these gems from Amorotti, and you're reminded how silly of a notion that is.
It's almost hard to believe that these are Gaetano's first releases...as good as they are, I can't wait to see how much better they'll get as he further hones his skills.
Get in on these now!
(at the very least for the super-cool looking bottles)
Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2017
Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo 2017
Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2016
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