Federal Wine & Spirits

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This Week's Tasting

Single Vineyard Montepulciano with Some Chaos
March 6, 2019

Montepulciano is a red grape variety principally grown in the regions of Marche and Abbruzzo on the Adriatic Sea. If grown in the clay soils near the coast it tends to produce very good everyday wines. If grown higher in the mountains with calcerous soils it can produce more profound single vineyard wines.


The Wolf of Valle Reale


Tonight we will show five examples of these more profound wines. We will also show a different take with a wine called Chaos.

Leo Pizzolo revived the Valle Reale property in the Gran Sasso mountains near the village of Popoli in Abruzzo. This is the original area where Montepulciano was first planted by monks. The soils are rocky and calcerous and the growing season is cooler and lasts longer. The 2011 Valla Reale Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Vigneto di Popoli is one of the best values in wine. It is rich in flavor, savory and balanced. Right up the road from Popoli we find the San Calisto vineyard. The 2010 Valle Reale Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Vigneto di San Calisto has the oldest vines on the property which gives it a different texture and concentration.

Next we will go north to the Marche and find Le Terrazze. At the request of his family Antonio Terni returned to run the old family winery. He is a mathematical physicist. He revived the property and started bottling the oldest vineyard Sassi Neri on its own. The 2014 Le Terrazze Rosso Conero Riserva Sassi Neri is still young yet you still get the idea how special this wine is. In addition, Antonio inherited some vineyards planted to different varieties and decided to make a principally Montepulciano blended wine. He decided to call it Chaos as an homage to chaos theory. The 2012 Le Terrazze Chaos is Montepulciano with Syrah and Merlot. The blend changes every year as does the label which is always a computer generated fractal.

Not far away we find the Garofoli estate. This is the oldest continually operating family wine estate in the Marche. Gianluca Garofoli is taking the reins now. The best red wine from Garofoli is the single vineyard Grosso Agontano. We will try two different vintages of this wine tonight. The 2011 Garofoli Rosso Conero Riserva Grosso Agontano is last year’s release and is still on the young side. The 2009 Garofoli Rosso Conero Riserva Grosso Agontano is just starting to really open up and both will age wonderfully for at least 25 years. These are terrific wines that almost no one knows about.

All of the wines in tonight’s tasting are organic and made with spontaneous fermentation. The wines are obviously similar in some ways. We will see how well the terroir shines through.


2011 Valle Reale Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Vigneto di Popoli: Very deep ruby. A very nice combination of dark fruit including cherry and blackberry. Balsamic notes of underbrush with some black pepper in the balanced finish. Very Good Plus to Excellent 18.99/bottle

2010 Valle Reale Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Vigneto di San Calisto: Deep ruby. Complex aromatics with fruit, flowers and spice. Creamy velvet texture with notes of sage and a very long finish. Excellent 43/bottle

2014 Le Terrazze Rosso Conero Riserva Sassi Neri: Still a bit restrained on the aromatics. You can pick up charry and blackberry and notes of olive blossom. The texture is layered and the wine opens up after a couple of hours. The finish makes a strong statement with notes of lavender and textured fruit. Outstanding 38/bottle

2012 Le Terrazze Chaos: Peppery with plum and blackberry fruit. Moderately tannic and fleshy. Round ed fruit texture. Very Good Plus to Excellent37/bottle

2011 Garofoli Rosso Conero Riserva Grosso Agontano: Black cherry and dark plum. Roses and herbs with a spicy layer. Long balanced finish. Excellent 42/bottle

2009 Garofoli Rosso Conero Riserva Grosso Agontano: Bright red fruit with balsam and pepper. Notes of lavender and herbs with moderate earth notes. Long, complex balanced finish. Outstanding58/bottle


Montepulciano Case: Special, two each of the above wines - $402

In-store only Montepulciano Pack: Special, one each of the above wines - $212


mix any 6- 11 wines for 10% off

any 12 or more for 15% off


Order by phone at 617.367.8605, or reserve here: order@federalwine.com


Please pass this on to any friends who are wine enthusiasts!


           - Peter Hemenway