Drunk Pynchonette and I ordered a couple of (enormous) glasses of this last night then only realised halfway through ’em that the name’s familiar ring owed itself not to my comprehensive knowledge of Italian viticulture but to Pynchon’s most alcoholic of opuses, Against the Day. So it was camera out, non-Instgramming restraint and decency away, and time for a spontaneous addition to the Pynchonian wine cellar.
The Montepulciano makes its appearance late in Against the Day in the wistful hands of Prince Spongiatosta. He’s talking to Cyprian (p. 873):
“You will come out to the island next week for our annual ball?”
“I’ve nothing to wear.”
He smiled, allowing Cyprian to think it was nostalgia. “The Principessa will find something for you.”
“She has exquisite judgement.”
The Prince squinted at the sky through his glass of Montepulciano. “In some things, most likely.”
Montepulciano is a grape commonly planted across Italy, used in numerous different protected styles. Ours was a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo from Tenuta Ulisse. I had a couple of pints post-Montepulciano, and I’m struggling to remember now quite what the stuff tasted like. I know I did most enjoy it. A bit spicy, with some sweet liquorice flavours, Drunk Pynchonette is reminding me. Pretty dark for staring at the sky through, though perhaps that explains the squinting.