Monday, September 22, 2008

A New Bottle, A New Learning Experience

I stopped by my local Bottle King this weekend looking to pick up an everyday wine for the week's dinners. Not surprisingly, a sale item caught my eye in the Italian reds section. It is no secret that my bias toward Italian wines runs pretty deep. That notwithstanding, I've been known to be quite harsh on vino from the sunny peninsula that disappoints my pallet. Well this time, not only was the wine a pleasant tasting experience, it was a chance to increase my wine Q.

The wine that I chose was called Ramitello, Molise Terra Degliosci, 2004. This is a blend of 85% prugnolo and 15% aglianico. I made my choice based on two factors, first price: on sale of $11.00 a bottle, and second on the desire to taste a wine made from a grape or grapes I did not know. The nose of this wine was nothing special or unique. I detected an odor of Black Cherry and Burnt Rubber. However the actual flavor of the wine was much more intriguing. It started out with fruit, again most reminiscent of cherry. However, once the wine crossed the mid pallet it turned bitter and had the distinct taste of black Licorice. The final round of the tasting experience was quite pleasing with a coating of dark chocolate. The tannins were in the low to medium range, which made the wine very smooth and amicable to drinking without food. And what was must exhilarating was the long lasting taste. I would say the tasting experience lasted for about 2 minutes after the wine had made its way to my stomach. Overall, I would give the wine a solid 3.5 on our traditional rating scale. It definitely made my list for repeat purchase.

But you might ask, what about this learning experience? Well this occurred after I took to the Internet to learn more about the grapes and that region that the wine came from. By the way, the town/village of origin was Campomarino. Campomarino, in the region of Molise is located on the Gulf of Taranto, The best way to describe this location is inside of the heel of the boot that is the Italian peninsula. So what about the grapes? Well I learned that prugnolo was not new to me at all. In fact it is simply another name for the Sangiovese grape that is used to describe that grape when it is grown in the town of Montepulciano. Why the different names for the same grape and why the producers chose to use this name in an area so far from Montepulciano? Well, I really don’t know and I’d be very interested in hearing anyone’s theory on the subject. In any case, despite the fact that my efforts to try a new grape were foiled, the wine drinking experience was quite enjoyable and I engaged in the proverbial practice of “learning something new, every day.”

1 comment:

Jon-Paul said...

Anthony, sorry to hear your efforts went seemingly in vain. However, since you were thoughtful in sharing this experience and your research with us, I thought I'd try to get some answers to your question by some research of my own.

It seems that while we all know Sangiovese as a varietal of Italian wine, there are scores of subvarieties, one of which is the Sangiovese Grosso, also known as Prugnolo Gentile or Prugnolo--this site seems to provide some good information on wine ( Another website I came across explained the Prugnolo grape getting it's name from it's distinguishing "plummy" color (
Given this information, it could be argued you DID accomplish your mission in trying a non-Tuscany Sangiovese subvarietal--regardless how you spin this argument, it was interesting research!