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Matt Wenk
 
5 August 2020 | Matt Wenk

The story of Uno Momento Montepulciano

It’s always a privilege to create a wine that is true to its traditions in both taste and aroma.

With the 2017 Uno Momento Montepulciano, we’ve captured the essence of a classical fruit from the Abruzzo region of east-central Italy, where the Apennine Mountains meet the Adriatic Sea and stretch for more than 1,200km along the Italian coastline.

It’s beautiful, unique country and ideal for growing fruit that produces wonderful light and medium-weight wines for which Italy has become famous.

The closest countryside we have in Australia is McLaren Vale, which is where the fruit for our Montepulciano was grown.

We’ve called this Montepulciano “Uno Momento” – and there’s a story behind that.

We’d been in business at Smidge Wines for about four years, producing an increasingly popular range of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Never satisfied, I thought we needed another red wine in the portfolio.

One local grower had planted a small block with Montepulciano grape. Back in 2017, the weather had been cooler, and I knew this to be perfect conditions for a grape traditionally grown at the foot of the Apennines.

My grower colleague told me this was his first crop but he’d not sold a berry, so I asked to taste it.

The explosion of flavour from the fruit was incredible. And I thought “wait a minute” – or as they say in Italy, “uno momento”.

I bought the entire crop on the spot.

Two weeks later, we’d handpicked fruit and de-stemmed the bunches to ensure we could use as many whole berries as possible. It was 24 days on skins with wild fermentation and no additions. Matured in two-year-old French barriques for ten months, it spent another year in the bottle before release 14 months ago.

Instinct served me well as the wine has received 96 points out of 100 from the James Halliday Wine Companion.

Typical of Italian-style wines, it is of medium weight and its aroma is lighter than the reds you’d find from France and Australia.

When you taste it, you should leave behind any expectation of a traditional Shiraz or Pinot Noir and instead enjoy an Italian experience conjured from the McLaren Vale’s red-brown soils that are so similar to those in the Apennines.

The wine is deep red with a striking and light perfume. You’ll experience lovely plum fruit with subtle savoury notes, fine tannins and fresh acidity.

This 2017 Uno Momento Montepulciano, available under the Smidge White Label, is based on the Montepulciano d’Abruzza, a wine that hails from the town of Montepulciano that can trace its wine heritage back to 1AD.

Growing this fruit has become popular in Australia because it ripens late and misses the intense heat of our summers. This makes it a reliable and economical as a fruit.

A total of 150 dozen of the Uno Momento has been made, and it has proven very popular. Only a few cases are left.

While Australians continue to love high-alcohol and rich wines such as the Shiraz, many want the contrast of a medium-bodied, light and fruity wine. Our Montepulciano meets this need perfectly, and customers rarely leave our cellar door without a couple of bottles after a tasting.

It’s ready to drink now, or you can store it for a decade. If you like to pair your wine with food, I’d recommend anti-pasta, ossobuco and lamb shanks.

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