Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a red wine made in the Abruzzi district of Italy from Montepulciano grapes. The cheapest ones are uncomplicated and uninteresting wines. The best are bold, vivid, powerhouse wines that may lack finesse, but they offer intense fruit and a lot of bang for the buck. This example is somewhere in the middle. It has plenty of fruit and much more finesse than the highly extracted, big ones. It’s also half the price.
ERA Montepulciano comes from the Chieti area of Abruzzo. It is medium-ruby in color with red cherry, dried fruit, subtle oak, and savory herb aromas. The wine is medium-bodied with a soft texture, very pleasing berry fruit, light cedar, and more savory herb notes on the palate. It is organic (and vegan and vegetarian). Actually the label says “made with organic grapes.” This designation requires strict organic practices in the vineyard and in the winery, but allows the use of sulfites in the making of the wine, although they are generally minimal. A “certified organic” designation on the label does not allow for the use of sulfites. Many early “made with organic grapes” wines were poorly made with off aromas and flavors, but this one is modern, clean, balanced, and bright.
Cantina Volpi began their organic ERA projects in 1999 out of concerns for environmental issues. Cantina Volpi has wineries in Veneto, Marche, Abruzzo, Apulia, and Sicily. They work with organically certified vineyards in each of these regions. All vineyard work is done by hand, and fermentation is uses only natural yeast. Certification is made by I.C.E.A. (the Italian Institute for Ethic and Environmental Certification), which is accredited in the U.S. by the USDA. The goddess Era was the Queen of Olympus in Greek mythology.