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I love drinking wine in its context—in the vineyards from which the grapes in my glass grew is probably my favorite—but I also love extracting it and throwing it in the unlikeliest of places. Such as, this Montecucco Sangiovese DOCG (a #sample) consumed under blankets on my snowporch in Upstate New York. The Montecucco wine region rests between the Brunello di Montalcino and Morellino di Scansano appellations in Tuscany, and is likely named for Tinia, the greatest of the Etruscan gods, who later became known as Jupiter. Since Etruscan times, wine grapes have been cultivated there, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that the region began to be recognized on the world stage as a source of delicious wine. Somehow, the region has managed to modernize, largely without some of the less salubrious industrial side-effects seen in other wine regions. About 70% of Montecucco’s production is certified organic, and the rest operates under the philosophy of chem-free, biodiverse farming practices that respect the land, and the people who live on it. Here, in addition to vineyards, visitors will find forest, olive trees, fruit trees and livestock. The family owned wineries in Sangiovese focus on quality over quantity, often bringing in 7,000 kg per hectare. You can taste the care and love poured over the grapes in the glass: dark red-purple fruits, dried orange peel, tobacco, with lashings of black pepper. Sangiovese should be consumed with its cousins in spirit—crusty bread slathered in Tuscan olive oil, roasted herb-flecked farm-fresh vegetables, a meaty stew, aged cheese, all manners of salted, pickled, brined treats and treasures. PIZZA! Guzzle it outside as an autumn snow blankets your backyard; you’ll taste the summer sun.

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