La Valentina is a much younger producer than many of the others I’ve tasted for this series, but they produce a classic Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. They were established in 1990 and currently manage over 40 hectares. They have two vineyards in Abruzzo and the grapes for this label are from the San Valentino vineyard, about 20km from Maiella mountain (one of the highest peaks in Italy). The vines in this location are 100% Montepulciano planted over 30 years ago.
The thing I like about this wine is that it’s the best of both worlds. A bit old world and a bit new world. The nose on this is new world leather and dark dried cherries, plus old world barnyard, mushrooms and black olives. There’s also a bit of licorice on the nose. The palate is nice and fruity with plum and dark cherry, but it’s not a fruit bomb—there is just enough frutta. The fruit is complemented by some black pepper and a hint of mid-palate chocolate. The finish is long and fantastic. It’s a fairly fruit-filled finish with a return of the licorice that was on the nose.
This isn’t going to be the best wine you’ve ever had, but it’s a solid Italian red and it’s a great example of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. And at $13 it’s an affordable way to try this varietal. Wine Spectator gave this an 87, but my numbers came in a notch higher at 88. I know there’s not much difference, but that’s how it worked out.
Wine: Fattoria La Valentina
Varietal: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
Price Paid: $12.99