2003 Ciu’ Ciu’ ‘Oppidum’ Marche IGT Rosso

Mission Codename: Head of the Class

Operative: Agent Capo & Agent White

Objective: Infiltrate Los Angeles’ Capo restaurant and taste a delicious Montepulciano paired with some of the finest Italian food.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Ciu’ Ciu’

Wine Subject: 2003 ‘Oppidum’ Marche IGT Rosso

Backgrounder: East-Central Italy is perhaps best known for the wines of The Abruzzi and Emilia-Romagna but dig deeper and you’ll find delicious wines of classic rustic Italian character and style as in today’s 100% Montepulciano selection from the Marche region.

Montepulciano is a late ripening red varietal native to the Abruzzi region and is known for its plush and ripe flavors, mellow acidity and firm tannic structure. These wines can age well, with some peaking more than a decade after harvest.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Extremely dark and almost black in color with a clear but nearly opaque core. Along the edges, the color shows garnet hints that also appear when this wine is held to the light. When swirled, fat low hanging legs ring the glass just above the viscous surface.

Smell – Rich and expansive with lots of dark fruit including plum and black cherry. Earthy and green herbal notes meld with anise and hints of cigar tobacco and smoke.

Feel – Smooth and dry, this full-bodied wine has easy acidity, a kick of spice and firm but well developed tannins, resulting in a chewy and plush feel. After breathing a bit, the wine becomes cool on the tongue and smooth but remains well structured.

Taste – Plush, rich and round with jammy red & black plum and ripe black cherry melding with earthy and herbal notes and a touch of white pepper. Hints of wild anise along with the cigar tobacco and mocha from the nose adds complexity and depth.

Finish – Clean and long with this wine’s firm and well developed tannins framing the ripe fruit and lingering licorice and mocha begs for another sip.

Conclusion – The 2003 Ciu’ Ciu’ ‘Oppidum’ Marche IGT Rosso is a delicious and rich Montepulciano with tremendous rustic character that is also refined and classy. Drinking perfectly right now, decant to reveal all this wine’s aromas and flavors, or cellar for 56-8 years to come. As Agent Capo’s review recommends below, pair this plush wine with a wood grilled New York Strip cooked to perfection.

Mission Report:

Agent Capo reporting for duty…

I tend to be partial to anything 1970, due to the fact I was born that year. This dates me, I know, but I swear I don’t look a day over forty! This brings me to the Ciu Ciu estate, which was started in 1970. Located in Le Marche’s Offida region, it has a storybook look to it. Rolling hills of green. I know, I’m describing most of Italy but is it ever really that tiring?

But lets get down to business. I’m here talking about the 2003 Oppidum Rosso Marche by Ciu Ciu. Quite full for a Montepulciano, almost jammy. It hits you with black cherry, tobacco and even a hint of licorice. The wine has a full and lush palate but with a long finish. Its not over tannic but dries on the finish.

I had the pleasure of trying the wine at one of my favorite places in Santa Monica, Capo restaurant, a rustic little Italian place owned by Bruce Marder that’s been around for quite a while and is still packed every night. They sport a ridiculous wine list that should be required reading for wine aficionados.

The waiter I had that night suggested the Oppidum Rosso with my New York cut steak and it held up perfectly. They cook their steaks at Capo over an almond wood fireplace and the smoky char on the meat blended well with the wines full-bodied structure.

I left happy and glad to have found a new wine I am instantly adding to my cellar!

Agent Capo along with this wine and food pairing can be found at Capo in Santa Monica, CA. The Wine Spies highly recommends this restaurant for its exceptional food and an even more impressive wine list.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The approximate location of the Ciu’ Ciu’ in Le Marche’s Offida region can be seen in this satellite photo.

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