Azienda Santa Barbara Rosso Piceno (2010)
Being a wine buyer in Pennsylvania relies heavily on the luck of dealing with the Chairman’s Selection program. For those outside the state, PA is the second-largest wine buyer in the world (behind Ontario), and they use this buying power to get bulk deals on many wines, dubbed “Chairman’s Selections.” We can’t buy wine anywhere but from the state (without crossing state lines), but this program does often bring interesting wines and values. Lately, the PLCB has been bringing in some rarer Italian varietals and blends, like the Zona Pecorino, a Peidirosso, and this Rosso Piceno (pronunciation: row-soh pee-chay-no).
The biggest problem with Chairman’s Selection items is that they tend to be a mix of great deals on quality wines (such as this Barbera) and wines that producers are unceremoniously dumping on a rather ignorant, but big spending buyer. And, since the state sorely lacks any real wine expertise in stores (or online), one generally must try these wines out to determine which is the case.
Unfortunately, this particular Rosso Piceno (a blend of 40% Sangiovese and 60% Montepulciano) seems to fall into the latter category. It is drinkable, and at $9 not the worst thing you’ll drink, but certainly not something I would recommend or will buy again, which is a real shame, considering I have been coveting more wines from Le Marche lately due to their QPR.
Interesting nose; notes of leather and earth, with a touch of green. Palate has some fruit, tart cherry of course, a touch of cranberry. Thin across the mid-palate, and a bit watery. This is a very acidic wine, with a surprisingly substantial dose of chalky tannins. The finish is rather harsh and generally uninteresting, with vegetal notes. Over time, it developed a bit of a concord grape juice note (which isn’t a good thing).