It is said that as interest in drinking Verdicchio has increased, producers in the Marche region of Italy are increasingly turning their back on producing red wines. The suggestion is that the Montepulciano grape that is oh so easy to ripen down in Abruzzo (and forms the basis for the majority of reds from the Marche) is more difficult to manage further north as it ripens so late and a tendency for producing flavours that are somewhat more rustic than the current fashion would like is not helping either.
However, this Monte Schiavo “Sassaiolo” from the troubled Rosso Piceno DOC shows that Marche can still produce impressive red wines and can do so at a price that makes them accessible to all.
50% Montepulcano and 50% Sangiovese, this 2010 Monte Schiavo “Sassaiolo” saw the grapes destined to become part of it manually harvested in late October, prior to fermentation and maturation in large, old oak casks. Now around two and half years after the harvest, this 2010 “Sassaiolo” remains the current vintage on release in the UK.
A fairly intense ruby red in the glass, this 2010 Monte Schiavo “Sassaiolo” offers and intense and characterful set of aromas as it is swirled in the glass. Leading with plum, over-ripe red cherry and prune aromas, the complexity of this “Sassaiolo” Rosso Piceno is further increased by the emergence of sweet spice and candied citrus peel notes as it develops. A declared 14% abv alcoholic content results in really quite pronounced alcoholic legs as this “Sassaiolo” settles.
Intense and ripe in the mouth, this 2010 Monte Schiavo “Sassaiolo” offers no shortage of seductively ripe fruit, alongside flavours of chocolate and sweet spices. Full bodied and featuring a ripe and gummy tannin structure, drinking this “Sassaiolo” Rosso Piceno is a little like drinking a liquefied plum pudding at Christmas! A good level of acidity prevents the ripeness of this “Sassaiolo” from becoming cloying and it finishes long, with lingering prune and chocolate notes.
Probably not a red that is suitable for prolonged maturation, this 2010 Monte Schiavo “Sassaiolo” should be drunk over the next three years.
Monte Schiavo “Sassaiolo” Rosso Piceno DOC (2010)
Score: 90/100 – A ripe, complex and thoroughly attractively styled wine, this 2010 Monte Schiavo “Sassaiolo” Rosso Piceno is just one reason why producers should not give up on red wines in the region of Marche.
Value for Money: 10/10 – Widely available at under £7 per bottle it is hard to think of this 2010 Monte Schiavo “Sassaiolo” as anything other than superb value.