I was at the Vinitaly Special Edition, the one with a mandatory green pass, without a paying audience, with only two exhibition pavilions just 400 exhibition stands. However, it was a true Vinitaly fair, perhaps more reflective, but where you could get the vibe of hope and desire to start again. And there was more time to talk to people and the wine producers.
At the Marramiero stand, I had the opportunity to taste new vintages of wines that I had already drunk in the past; all excellent wines that I can describe like real “old friends”. So I focused my attention on three vintages of Montepulciano Dante Marramiero, vintage 2011, 2008 and 2005, wich I will talk about shortly.
Cantina Marramiero has been operating for about thirty years in Rosciano, in Pescara Province. It is located in a very favourable position, at about 200 meters above sea level, facing the sea, but at the same time protected by the Gran Sasso Mountain, with its height of 3,000 meters. This special position and the aspect of the vineyards that are over 30 hectares in size, are affected by a large diurnal range and high continentality. The combination of these factors related to the soil composition (clay and tuff), low yields and, in general, a sustainable agriculture, facilitate the vegetative process and the development of the aromas and polyphenols in the grapes. The philosophy of sustainability is also the basis of the production process in this winery.
As said earlier, I tasted three vintages of Dante Marramiero, made with Montepulciano grapes. It is a rich, powerful wine, that can reach 14.5° Abv, wich is produced only in the best vintages and suitable for ageing. The grapes come from an ancient vineyard in Contrada Sant’Andrea, the vine pruning system is replacement cane pruning (Guyot training), the vineyard has a south-east aspect and it is characterised by a deep rich in clay soil. The old vines and the great work in the vineyard since ripening, guarantee that each vine contributes with a single kilo of grapes into the winemaking process. The great concentration and the polyphenolic components clearly present in the glass when you drink it. The harvest is typically late, at the end of October.
In the cellar, the vinification lasts for about twelve days, at a temperature between 25 and 30° C, with a long maceration on the skins. The must is then fermented, half of the mass in oak vats and the remaining half in (temperature controlled stainless) steel tanks. The wine is then blended and matures in small oak barrels for at least 24 months and then in the bottle. By the way, the wine ages for 120 months in total, before being released on the market.
Let’s move on to the storytelling of the wines.
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Dante Marramiero Riserva 2011
This wine has a deep ruby colour. On the nose, it expresses hints of red fruit jam, pepper, violet and balsamic nuances. On the palate, the wine is powerful, rich, with high tannins and a great acidity, which is still partially balanced by alcohol (however) and is very noticeable. The finish is long with fruity hints of blueberry jam. The wine is still very youthful despite being ten years old.
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Dante Marramiero Riserva 2008
The wine shows an intense ruby colour with garnet nuances. On the nose, there are immediate hints of blueberries and black cherry jam, spicy vanilla and nutmeg, followed by herbal notes of thyme and sage. In the mouth, the wine has high tannins and a lively freshness and savory component balanced by a highter softness compared to the 2011 vintage. The finish is long and has a persistent fruity and spicy aftertaste.
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Dante Marramiero Riserva 2005
The wine has a ruby colour with garnet shades on the rim. On the nose, the wine is surprisingly floral with hints of dried violet, red fruits jam and nutmeg. Immediately after the first sniff, the balsamic notes take over, with herbal nuances of thyme and laurel. In the mouth, the wine is still youthful. It is a wine of a great elegance, with silky tannins and well-present acidity, that shows that this vintage has a very long way ahead and is suitable for further ageing. The finish is long with continuous herbal aromas and flavors, especially eucalyptus.
Every time I taste this wine, I have the clear feeling of being in front of a champion of expressiveness, a wine that is able to give new and intense emotions. I hope to have the chance to get this feeling again, maybe really soon.