2012 Montepeloso A Quo, $21.00

Owner Fabio Chiarelotto has proven to be one of the top winemakers on Italy’s Tuscan coast. The vineyards he acquired in 1998 sit on a windy site above the famed Tua Rita vineyard. At the time, Montepeloso already enjoyed a fine reputation, but Chiarelotto thought it could be better. Extensive work and replanting in the vineyard has proven him right. This red blend’s dense ruby color, opaque, almost black, hints at the hedonistic experience that follows. An unusual combo of five grapes (Montepulciano, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangio-vese, Marselan, Alicante Bouschet), the aromas are in-tense with rosemary, lavender and dark red fruits. The palate is rich, but balanced, and while surprisingly ac-cessable, has the stuffing to improve with five to seven years in the bottle. The flavors are a vibrant mix of plum, cherry and berry, with intriguing notes of slate, mineral and tobacco. If it sounds like I love this wine, it’s because I do. It wants to be paired with a grilled flat iron steak, smoked baby back ribs, or tomato based pas-tas. Also worked well with a truffle laced gouda cheese.