Jasci - Montepulciano d’Abruzzo - $15.99
Italian wine can be confusing… With so many different native varieties and overlapping names it is a spider web of information. But, this month we are drinking a Montepulciano from Abruzzo, not to be confused with Tuscany’s Sangiovese-based wines like Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, or the legendary Brunello di Montalcino. The grape Montepulciano is Italy’s fifth most planted variety (Sangiovese enjoys the number one spot), and grows at its best in the rugged terrain of Abruzzo. Situated right above the seaside resort town of Vasto, the Jasci family has been producing wine here for 3 generations, and they were one of the first wineries in Italy to become certified organic in the 80s. If you’ve never enjoyed a Montepulciano, this is a great representation of its potential.
Cheap and cheerful or syrupy and dense Montepulciano can exist on either end of the spectrum. In the past, vintners often overused new oak barrels because unripe pip tannins caused green flavors that they hid with heavy handed applications of oak. Today, many wineries are moving away from oak-aging their entry level wines and focusing their attention to work in the vineyards in order to achieve an even ripeness of the grapes. Seeing only cement and stainless steel, Jasci’s expression shows fresh fruit, black berries, and plums. Dark and dense, but with an energy that reverberates through its concentrated core. Just a touch of wet earth.
We often talk about the environmental effects of pesticides, but we can sometimes forget about the health consequences spraying these harsh chemicals can cause our farmers and their families. Some studies have linked pesticide use to cancers, Parkinson’s disease, and asthma. Giuseppe decided to convert to organics because his wife had been suffering from health problems that the doctors couldn’t solve, but they were remedied soon after their conversion to organic viticulture.
Finca Pasculino - A Spanish cheese with Italian style. Finca Pasculino is a hard, aged sheep's milk cheese with a crumbly texture and slightly briney flavour. Most similar to a classic table Pecorino, Finca Pasculino is a great pairing with fruity Italian reds and prosciutto San Daniele
TUNES FOR YOUR JUICE
by Liza Morgioni
“This is dedicated to the one I love!” That may as well be on the Jasci family crest. In the 1980s, Guiseppe Jasci’s wife Irma became mysteriously ill. The family and doctors came to the conclusion that chemical inputs to their vineyard were at the root of her problems, and Guiseppe immediately decided to make the switch to organic farming. This was a particularly historic decision as they became one of the first wineries in all of Italy to become certified organic. So when we pop the cork on this Montepulciano, know that it is ultimately a product of love, as well as a dedication to a loved one’s health and the health of many! Thank you to the Jasci family for caring about what we put in our bodies. The Mamas & The Papas themselves were trailblazers- in the counterculture movement of the 1960s music scene, they were one of the groups that really defined folk rock in an era of new "beat".
This Montepulciano tastes just as all-encompassingly harmonious as the chorus of Dedicated To The One I Love. The winemaker’s decision to omit use of oak results in a pure expression of the grape- smooth, fresh, and bright. This vocal-centric track was considered just that when The Mamas & The Papas performed it on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1967, and is still just as beloved today. As sunshiney as this tune may be, TMATP’s group dynamic was actually much more complex, and interpersonal drama and affairs led to their eventual breakup. Your Montepulciano d’Abruzzo isn’t just bright fruit; catch subtle notes of baking spices that add another interesting layer to your drinking experience.