WSET Diploma Chronicles #2: Sicily and Abruzzo Dazzle for Cheap

There is an amazing wine shop just down the street from my office in Denver called Corks. It's unassuming and a bit lackluster but it has a great selection of $15 and under wines, all of which are great quality and happen to be exactly what I need when studying for the WSET Diploma. I dropped $120 there the other day on 10 bottles. They have a good selection of inexpensive varietal bottles that are true to each bottle's regional or varietal typicity. While some of the wine is corporate, I respect their approach and couldn't be happier about them a couple doors down from my office.

I had Nicki pull out 2 bottles of red wine for me to taste "blind" tonight from what I purchased at Corks. I've been tasting whites as of late, mainly because I need more practice with them, but it's getting cold in Denver and it was time to cozy up to some reds. Here are my thoughts on both.


2014 Villa Pozzi Nero D'Avola
Terre Siciliane IGT
13% Alcohol

This bottle had a bit of funk out of the bottle but settled down nicely over 30-45 minutes. The nose is incredibly pure with a distinct note of blackberries and blackberry liqueur, vanilla, and spice. The palate mirrored the aroma with similar flavors of blackberry and vanilla. Somewhat one-dimensional but great QPR. I'm not a huge fan of what this wine has going on but it is undoubtedly well-made and high quality.

2014 La Quercia Montepulciano d'Abruzzo
Montepulciano d'Abruzzo DOC
13% Alcohol
$13/750 ml
Highly Recommended

Tasting this wine blind was a revelation. I would have guessed this was a much more expensive bottle, maybe double or triple it's measly price of $13. It was ripe and rich on the nose and the palate, with generous aromas of blackberry, black plum, and spices. It's relatively one dimensional, similar to the Villa Pozzi above, but overall, I think this wine is well-balanced and a crowd pleaser. The fact that it is made from organically-grown old vines and is an independent producer makes it even better.