2013 Montepulciano- A sneaky draft pick

Those of you foolish enough to engage in fantasy sports know there are certain players who go under appreciated. These players are available in the late rounds of a draft, or go undrafted and are subsequently listed on “the waiver wire.” My sleeper fantasty wine pick for the next several years is Montepulciano. Montepulciano is a classic example of a non-glitzy draft pick. Like Grenache in Spain and France, Montepulciano is a prolific grape used for excellent everyday table wine in Italy’s Abruzzo. It’s a lovable everyday wine, not to be taken very seriously. In other words, it doesn’t have the “sex appeal” serious wine buyers would spend on an early round draft pick, such as Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir or Howell Mountain Cabernet. Think Astros shortstop phenom Carlos Correa. High quality Montepulciano is a player whose contributions don’t always show up in the box score, and even when they do, few notice. In sports terms, MP would be a solid bench player, which would limit its fantasy value. But what if a team gave it a chance to start, and play everyday in crucial situations? Shrewd fantasy owners know a player’s statistics rely upon several situational circumstances beyond that player’s control. A manager decides how much playing time a player receives in games. A good line up around the player improves his chances of putting up better statistics. A player who plays in a small park has a better chance of hitting home runs. And so on. Our Montepulciano, planted in Dry Creek Valley is in a perfect position to succeed, poised to have a big future ahead. Dry Creek Valley’s climate is generally warm and dry, but the evenings allow for slower flavor development and better structure-both acid and tannin. We have high quality wine in mind when we farm our Montepulciano, so we employ aggressive crop-thinning to facility more concentrated aromas, flavors and structure. The result is a wine worthy of batting clean up in any special occasion. Our 2013 is the best example of why we love Montepulciano. It is a concentrated full-bodied wine that has higher acidity than the average Russian River Pinot Noir (3.65 pH). It clearly dispels any myth that says Montepulciano can’t make a sophisticated wine with balance and great aging potential. This is a result of planting a Mediterranean grape in a Mediterranean climate. Go figure. So don’t hesitate to spend an early draft pick on our 2013 Montepulcaino. If my track record for picking wine sleepers is any indication (see my earlier sleeper selections of Grenache, Sangiovese and Barbera), you’ll be glad you did.

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