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Organic Wine from Italy – Si, Grazie!

The Wine of the Week: Cirelli Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, a bargain organic wine from Italy

by Annette Tomei

2016 Cirelli La Collina Biologica, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC, ItalyCirelli Montepulciano d'Abruzzo a great organic wine from Italy

Francesco Cirelli is building a strong reputation for his dedication to organics, natural wines, and true biodiversity on his farm in the Abruzzo region of Italy. In under two decades, Francesco and his wife Michela have built a thriving organic farm. They have a diverse production that includes wine grapes, olives for olive oil, grains, and even geese.

The Collina Biologica program is a collaborative effort of Francesco Cirelli, Tommaso Turci, and Domenico Francone. It is designed to provide education and inspiration for future sustainable agriculture entrepreneurs. This “real-life laboratory” provides hands-on experience with true biodynamic agricultural practices, and more. This wine is produced as part of the effort, and helps financially sustain the project.

Montepulciano is a red grape, common to central Italy, especially Abruzzo along the Adriatic coast. This grape is loved for its soft tannins and low acidity. The wines produced are typically juicy and deliciously drinkable. The Cirelli La Collina Biologica is a great example.

About this Wine

This organic wine from Italy is a pleasure to feature. Ripe raspberries, fresh black pepper, and a hint of fresh herbs on the nose, followed by juicy tart cherries and ripe plum on the palate. The finish has a pleasantly astringent cranberry tartness. This wine reminded me of how much I love simple, well-made wines from this region.

This was one of several wines my family and I enjoyed at Thanksgiving dinner. It was the one that stood out most to me for its adaptability. I enjoyed it equally with pre-dinner nibbles of deviled eggs and spiced nuts as I did with roast turkey, cranberry compote, and buttery sage stuffing. Now that the holiday meal is over, I’m enjoying it with pizza – it is truly a versatile wine!

The Verdict

At $12-17/bottle, this makes a great “house wine” for any day of the week. I feel even better about it knowing that its production supports the growing movement toward biodiversity and sustainability in agriculture. And that it brings organic, well-made wines to the world at a price point that is good for nearly all of us. The La Collina Biologica (Organic Hill) project also produces a lighter almost-rosé style red and a white. Agricola Cirelli produces a line of natural wines fermented in custom designed amphorae (labelled “Amphora”) that are well worth seeking out as well.

 

My new mission… to taste things I’ve never tasted before – either because I’m a snob, I can’t afford it, or it’s just a little too weird. I’ll let you know what I thought, and then you can decide for yourself if you will make the splurge, or take the leap into the strange but potentially delicious unknown!

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