Category: Tasting Notes

Montepulciano By Any Other Name

We (the Dinner Doctor and Mr. SeriousFoodie) are insane about our wines – we drink, we study, we buy, then we repeat these steps.  And we’ve had lots and lots of wine from a variety of grapes, especially from Italy.  So, we fumbled a bit when we were dining with friends who asked us, “This Vino Nobile de Montepulciano is delicious.  What region is it from, and what grape do they use?”First, we had to explain that Montepulciano is a the beautiful hill town in the southeast part of Tuscany where they make an excellent wine called Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (and sometimes a rosso called Montepulciano) – which is not made from the Montepulciano grape.   There is a lesser quality (but sometimes also very good) wine called Montepulciano d’Abruzzo which is made from the Montepulciano grape – but Abruzzo is a few regions south and east of Montepulciano. If this sounds confusing, try learning Italian grammar.  By the way, there is no connection between the town and the grape as far as we know.So, here are two fairly common Italian wines, made from entirely different grapes from different regions, with different price points and quality, but sound similar.  So, […]

Rosso di Spicca – The Chateauneuf de Pape of Italy

We start this series of 20 under $20 with one of the best, most alluring, and maybe the most obscure wines of Italy.  Rosso di Spicca (Pronounced Row-So dee Spee-ka) is a Ovietano Rosso – a red wine coming from the Ovieto region of Umbria in central Italy.  Many people know the white wines from Ovieto, and there are many good, and a few great, Ovieto white wines.  The vast majority of the Ovieto white wines are under $20, so you will see a blog about these very soon. But most folks, even my go-to Italian wine merchant (Will at were a bit stumped by these hidden gem.  We first came across this wonder in the wine store attached to our favorite Italian market in Florida (Mazzaro‘s in St. Petersburg – as for Jeff). We were looking for an interesting red wine that would match well with an array of food flavors – and Jeff from Mazzaro’s said this was the best.  He was right. The Ovietano Rosso is a relatively new designation, being recognized as a DOC in 1998.  We coined it as the Chateauneuf de Pape of Italy because it is typically made from a blend of […]

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