May 01, 2009

Lackluster Marche wine

I've written previously about how the hot 2003 vintage in Europe, challenging though it may have been, produced a variety of interesting wines for my palate. Ripe and soft, sure, but I've enjoyed many wines.

Of course, there's the downside to the vintage -- overripe wines that are fiercely tannic and lack freshness. That's pretty much the story with the 2003 Villa Pigna Rozzano Marche IGT.

Translation -- the producer is Villa Pigna, the bottling name is Rozzano, the area in Italy is the Marche, and IGT essentially means this isn't a formal DOC or DOCG "appellation" wine. IGT wines often have non-traditional grapes such as merlot or cabernet sauvignon, that aren't otherwise allowed in a particular DOC or DOCG.

In this case, the wine is apparently 100% Montepulciano, so no merlot or whatnot to wonder about. Instead, just the weather.

The dark ruby color leads to a ripe, plummy and even pruney aroma that's definitely Italian but just not fresh and appealing. There's nice spice and old wood aromas, maybe even some mint, but the raisiny quality smothers any character or nuance.

The flavors are similarly baked, with prune and spice notes and fierce tannin that suggests the grapes shivelled in the hot weather before truly ripening. The finish is short and tangy, with rough tannin and a plodding flavor.

Is this horrible wine? No. In fact, I'm surprised it's not horribly volatile. It seems rare to taste a wine so pruney that somehow didn't get away from the winemaker and start its path to vinegar. It's just emblematic of the exceptionally hot 2003 vintage. No more, no less.

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