'Cocciapazza' Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2020
Torre dei Beati
$39.99 on 6+ (code: 6saves2)
$41.99 reg LIMITED
The most serious red wine at this address and the one meant to age best in the cellar of all the red wines, I tasted a bottle of this last Friday and it was excellent, with a ton of potential. The score and tasting note speaks for itself, I am more of a 93-95 points on this wine. I think the Tibeiro Colle Vota is a better wine, though Vinous scored both 95 points (Colle Vota is also $80). Texturally the Colle Vota was off-the-charts refined. The Cocciapazza, this wine, needs some cellar time to mellow the structure and broaden the character, which is a little tight at the moment texturally, but still very, very good. Aroma and flavor-wise, the wine is showing really well. I am buying a few to put in the cellar, and so should you. Apparently, the availability is limited as this vintage was cropped at half the normal production. Only a few cases are available and who knows when we'll see more.
Varietal: 100% Montelpuciano
Vineyard: Planted 1972, “Pergola Abruzzese” training
Altitude: 250 meters a.s.l.
Soil Composition: Clay-limestone
Winemaking: Fermentation in steel tanks, then 20 months in French oak barriques,1/3 new, 1/3 one year old, 1/3 2 years old.
My Tasting Notes: Eric at Vinous nails the note, but here is my best interpretation...Garnet and ruby red, deeper at the core. The nose is med+, with fresh and lively cherry, blackberry, and black raspberry, with savory herbs and spices, and a hint of balsamic, wildflowers accentuate the aromas. On the palate, this was a harder one to put into words, as it was structured, youthful, but not intrusive, but that is the structure of a younger red wine meant to age. The flavor intensity is med+, lots of great flavor density and complexity, with a med+ finish that tapers off longer in flavor than structure (a good thing).
2019 score this 2020 is not yet rated:
The 2019 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Cocciapazza is youthfully coy, yet with underlying depths that are worth waiting for. Musky blackberries, balsam herbs, lavender and hints of cocoa powder can all be found in the glass. This is silky upon entry, yet quickly gains in tension as mineral-tinged, dark red fruits penetrate deeply, nicely contrasted by a sweet and sour citrus twang. The 2019 finishes youthfully structured with a bitter tug of grippy tannin, yet also a primary concentration that lingers, promising many years of positive evolution. Fans of Torre dei Beati and Montepulciano owe it to themselves to lose this in their cellars, but be aware that production was down by 50%, producing just 7,000 bottles.
From Abruzzo: The Great Divide (Oct 2022) by Eric Guido, Vinous Media
Fausto Albanesi, of Torre dei Beati, is easily one of the most humble and pleasantly quirky winemakers that I’ve come across in Abruzzo. Somehow this made a lot of sense to me once I considered the wines that he produces, and how they all have both a playful but also very serious side to them. The 20 hectares of estate vineyards and the winery are located in Loreto Aprutino, between 250 to 320 meters in elevation, with a push and pull of warming currents from the Adriatic Sea and the cooling effects of the Gran Sasso massif. Fourteen of those 20 hectares are made up of treasured pergola-trained Montepulicano vines that are now 50 years old. Albanesi is also very excited about a new vineyard in the works, a five-hectare, high-elevation Montepulciano site, between 430 to 500 meters, and closer to the Majella mountain. I witnessed this location with my own eyes while climbing in the region, and it’s a sight to see. The approach here is progressive, not international, nor traditional, but with a focus on allowing each variety to express itself through low yields, picking at optimal ripeness, and, in the case of the two Montepulciano “Selections”, Cocciapazza and Mazzamurello, a balanced use of new oak. For reference, the Cocciapazza is the darker and more serious wine for aging (just see my note on the 2006 for reference), while the Mazzamurello is more polished and opulent. Torre dei Beati also produces one of the most exciting Trebbiano Abruzzese in the region, refined in a combination of steel and acacia wood barrels. Don’t let the references to oak scare you; this is a portfolio of rich, balanced reds and whites that communicate both terroir and importance.