I liked the name on the bottle: "Illuminati". Brought me back to Dan Brown's DaVinci Code and made me wonder if this wine was somehow entwined in the search for the Holy Grail. If the Knights Templar wanted a quaff, would it taste like this?
Ours was not so venerable a quest - just Sunday night dinner. We did up a batch of spaghetti with my own trademark sauce and some wine-and-shallot sausage. I opened up the bottle and was enveloped by its heady, stewed-fruit fragrance. It poured dark purple and inky into the glass, opening up with aromas of Christmas cake and exotic spice. A complex nose, to say the least. On the palate, it was dry, fruity, slightly acidic, with a dusty mouthfeel. Tannins were fairly mild; to quote the LCBO listing, this is an "entry-level montepulciano d'abruzzo" - not quite as aggressive as others I have tasted.
Illuminati Riparosso 2008 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo (Abruzzo, Italy; Vintages 328997, $12.95; 13.5% abv)
Would Mr. Brown approve of matching this wine with his best-selling novel? May have to put that to the test sometime. Until then, check out Natalie MacLean's wine-and-book matches over on her site.