Private Tasting: Italian Reds

By Kori ~ October 27th, 2009.

2005 Pasetti Montepulciano d’AbruzzoRecently, we had what turned out to be an Italian reds showdown in one of our double blind private tasting dinners pitting the 2005 Pasetti Montepulciano d’Abruzzo against the 2003 Villa Artimino Riserva Villa Medicea. For a more complete description of how we set up these private tastings, please refer to How We Taste.

Before I go any further, let me state for the record that I am well aware that while these wines are both Italian reds as the title of this post suggests, they are from different regions in Italy and even made from different grape varieties. “But wait, that’s like comparing apples and oranges, right?” Well, yes, in some ways, it is. “Shouldn’t you be comparing apples and apples instead?” Not necessarily. There is a time and place for both kinds of tastings. While we generally do “apple to apple” comparisons in our monthly wine tasting dinners, we like to mix it up in our private tasting dinners with the occasional “apple to orange” comparison. If you only taste wines against other similar wines, how do you truly know which varietals and regions you prefer?

The Pasetti is an excellent wine and paired wonderfully with Mom’s dinner of Italian chicken breasts, steamed broccoli, and brown and wild rice. It was much more to our liking than the Villa Artimino which had a distinctive musty, barnyard funk and was out of balance.

2005 Pasetti Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (Abruzzo, Italy): 100% Montepulciano. Dark purple, very aromatic with black fruit and floral aromas, black fruit and milk chocolate flavors, medium to full-bodied, medium tannins, smooth and well-balanced with a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: K&L Wine Merchants (California), $12.99

2003 Villa Artimino Carmignano Villa Medicea Riserva (Carmignano, Tuscany, Italy): 75% Sangiovese, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Canaiolo. Dark purple, earthy, musty, and barnyard aromas and flavors, medium to full-bodied, medium tannins, long finish, improves with food but has a distinctive funk and is not well-balanced.
Quality: 2.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: NR (not recommended)
Where to buy: Casa Torelli Imports (California), $44.98 [2004 is currently available vintage]

Filed under: Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Italian Wine, Montepulciano, Red Wine, Sangiovese, Wines Over $25, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. Evan Dawson | October 27th, 2009 at 7:27 am

    Kori – Was there Brett in the Villa Artimino? What do you think about Brett in general?

  2. Kori | October 27th, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    I really didn’t think there was brett in the Villa Artimino. Brett can be such a controversial topic and difficult to identify at times. The biggest drawback for me on this wine was that it was out of balance and just didn’t seem well put-together.