The Villa Cerrina Montepulciano D’Abruzzo is another of Trader Joe’s $4.99 specials. Montepulciano is the grape, it is indigenous to Italy and is the second most widely planted indigenous grape, Sangiovese is #1. It is grown in the D’Abruzzo DOC of central Italy and according to regulations a minimum of 85% of the wine must be made from the Montepulciano grape, the remainder, if any, can be Sangiovese. Like most 5 buck Trader Joe’s wines there is not much information available concerning how the wine was made. The alcohol content is 12.5%.
The color is a nice purple with crimson highlights. The nose on this bottle does not give much up, it has been open for an hour, a little plum, a touch of raisin spice and a hint of dark berries. The mouth feel is soft and smooth, but the flavors are muted. Blackberry upfront, followed by licorice, the mid-palate brings in some ripe cherry and a touch of spice. The tannins are tame and the acidity is held in check. The finish is dark berry and is on the short side. I know this a 5 buck wine, but I think it needs to be decanted to be at its best.
The Villa Cerrina Montepulciano D’Abruzzo may not be bold and exciting, but it gives you an introduction to an Italian grape that you may not otherwise have the opportunity to try. It is a wine that is easy to drink (if a wine sells for $30 and you call it “easy drinking” that isn’t a complement, but when the wine sells $4.99 it is praise). My motto is “drink as many different grapes grown in as many different places as you possibly can” and if the Villa Cerrina Montepulciano D’Abruzzo isn’t a destination wine, it is certainly a good wine to start your Italian wine journey.