Praesidium Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva 2016


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“The 2016 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva lifts up with an eyes-rolling-back-in-your-head bouquet of fresh tobacco leaves, mulled cherries, cinnamon and cloves, as a whiff of sour tangerine and animal musk perfectly punctuates the experience. This is both rich yet spicy, with dense, dark textural waves of mineral-encased black raspberry fruit contrasted by a bump of citrus-tinged acidity. It boasts a chiseled structure of crystalline tannins that penetrate deeply, yet there’s still plenty of pleasure to be had today, as notes of licorice and hard red candies fade over the course of a minute. This is old-school yet far from rustic, packed full of character and with medium-term cellar potential. Need I say more? The Riserva refines for a total of forty-eight months, with the first two years in stainless steel, followed by another two years in Slavonian oak cask and a small percentage of Tonneaux. Drinking window: 2023-2030. 93 points

Praesidium is located in the Peligna Valley, where the family tends to seven hectares of organically farmed Montepulciano and Trebbiano Abruzzese (that’s right, the true Trebbiano Abruzzese). Here, the climate is continental, and the terrain is certainly mountainous, which packs the wines full of character. Spontaneous fermentations, long macerations, extended aging, and late releases are all part of what makes these wines so special, but also that they are clean and precise, something that is too often lost in the “natural” and “traditional” winemaking category. When I taste through the portfolio of Praesidium, the producers that come to mind are the likes of Emidio Pepe, Paolo Bea and Arianna Occhipinti, which is some pretty good company to keep. Praesidium falls in the category of those producers that make more serious wines of depth, coupled with long-term aging potential, but without the overuse of oak. The style is old-school and traditional, yet far from rustic.”

Eric Guido, Vinous (11/21)