When you think of red Tuscan wine your mind immediately goes to the Chianti area. However if you just go south two hundred miles from that zone, you discover something you would have never imagined. We are referring to Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, an Italian red wine, such as Bisanzio Citra.
To better understand the terminology referring to this wine, we require a little history. Some centuries ago, the Medici family brought the most advanced vinification techniques from Florence to Abruzzo. All this happened in 1579 when they came to power in the Baronia of Carapelle – on the southern slope of the Gran Sasso mountain – succeeding the Sienese family Piccolomini.
Probably, in that period, there was some confusion about the name Montepulciano, which refers both to the red wine of Abruzzo and the Tuscan city famous for the Nobile wine. Even today “Montepulciano” is used for the two.
On one hand, the Abruzzo wine and the Chianti have many features in common, although the second one is more structured, long-lived and full of fragrance and color. On the other hand, the vines are different. In short, the Montepulciano vine differs from the Sangiovese which is used for Chianti, Nobile and Brunello.
Going back to the Bisanzio Citra Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, it’s worth mentioning this wine has some features in common with Chianti: intense ruby red with subtle violet nuances, however the first contains 14 percent alcohol and the second only 14. The bouquet of Bisanzio is complex and intense, with scents of violet and sour cherry, and perceptible hints of liquorice and cinnamon which recall the perfume of spices and berries of Chianti Classico.
Both wines are full-bodied, generous, harmonic, with a velvety taste of tannins. That’s why they are a perfect accompaniment for important traditional American dishes such as stuffed quails, grilled T-bone steaks and barbecued spareribs.
This Italian wine can be used also for cooking a tasty risotto.
Recipe with Bisanzio italian wine
Ingredients for four people: two cups of white rice (Arborio, Carnaroli, Vialone nano), one leek, three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, half a stick of butter, one cup and a half of Bisanzio Citra Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, half a cup of grated Parmigiano Reggiano, vegetable broth. Fry the chopped leek in the olive oil, as soon as it is golden add rice. Mix with a wooden spoon for a few minutes, then pour wine keeping a little aside as a finishing touch. Don’t forget to mix the rice during the cooking, adding vegetable broth until you get a dense but creamy risotto. Off the stove, add butter and Parmigiano Reggiano, mix and serve.
Last but not least, a winery tour will be a wonderful and unexpected “live” experience from ripening on the vines to refinement in stainless steel tanks and partly in oak barrels from Slavonia or France.
Find out how to book a chianti wine tour