Il Conte Wines: A Delightful Find

Earlier this year I discovered a small winery from a region not known for its wines. Il Conti Villa Prandone, located near Monteprandone in southern portion of the Marche region along Italy’s Adriatic coast.

Emmanuel DeAngelis (from the winery) and Joe Zappasodi (representing the importer) led the tasting. Emmanuel was in Cincinnati visiting the importer (Regional Imports), which Joe’s father (Frank, a Marche native) started as a way to get Il Conte wines into the U.S. market. As one of the more enjoyable tastings I attended in 2008, I discovered 3 delightful whites and 3 outstanding reds.

Il Conte Reds
ilconte2To me, the biggest prize of the day was Rosso Piceno. This 50-50 blend of Sangiovese and Montepulciano, wasn’t the best wine, but it was the best value ($12). A pleasant, dry wine with blackberry and black cherry flavors gives us a delightful and affordable wine that is suitable for both casual, everyday use and entertaining friends.

Il Conte Piceno Superiore “Marinus”, composed of 70% Montepulciano and 30% Sangiovese, was a step up in quality, but also in price ($17).

Il Conte “Zipolo” was the absolute taste king of the event.
60% Montepulciano, 20% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot ($27)

Il Conte Whites
Italian white wines are generally light, fruity, but with a refreshing hint of acidity for crispness. Il Conte has three wines fitting this description. Although these types of wines aren’t usually on my radar, I tasted each of these and was impressed.

  • Il Conte Aurato Bianco 2006, 30% passerina, 40% trebbiano, 30% pecorino $9.00
  • Il Conte Navicchio Bianco 2006, 100% pecorino $15
  • Il Conte Marche Passerina, 100% passerina ($27)

As many wine buyers stay with the same wines, I’m much more daring. Since the world of wine offers so much, I’m one who likes to try different items. After all, I have yet to purchase a bottle that I couldn’t finish. Maybe I wouldn’t buy it again, but they didn’t go down the drain. Interesting, Il Conte Rosso Piceno is the only wine I have purchased by the case. As matter of fact, I’m on my second case.

This past October we cruised from Vancouver to San Diego When in San Diego, we had a delightful meal at Buon Appetito located in Little Italy. I didn’t see Il Conte Rosso on the wine list, but as we were leaving I noticed Il Conte Rosso displayed on the shelf. So for those in the San Diego area or travelers to that beautiful city, give it a try.