Montepulciano — A Guide to the Basics

You might puzzle Montepulciano, the grape variety that finds its greatest and most popular expression in Italy’s Abruzzo region, with the appellation of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano– it’s an easy error to make! Montepulciano is a grape variety, and its most familiar version is in the typically budget friendly, normally gulpable Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, though it flourishes throughout main and southern Italy. This guide will focus on the Montepulciano grape.

What is Montepulciano Wine?
Montepulciano white wine is a generally red wine crafted from the grape range of the exact same name, though it also makes exceptional rosé. Delicious red white wines produced from the Montepulciano grape variety can also be discovered in Puglia, Umbria, Lazio, Marche, Tuscany, and Emilia-Romagna.

Where Does Montepulciano Wine Come From?
Most Montepulciano on the American market comes from Abruzzo, in east-central Italy, where the range prospers. Riserva bottlings can be discovered, which have been aged for a minimum of 2 years (9 months of which remain in oak), however the most common ones are not labeled Riserva. There is a different DOC referred to as Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, which is booked for rosé wines produced from a minimum of 85% Montepulciano grapes. These are growing in appeal, however are not nearly as popular or widely offered as Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.

In other parts of Italy, Montepulciano plays essential supporting or starring roles, as in Rosso Conero from Marche, Biferno from Molise, and Torgiano from Umbria, among many others. Montepulciano is also produced in Texas, particularly the Texas Hill Country AVA, and McLaren Vale, Riverland, and Barossa Valley in Australia.

Why Should You Drink Montepulciano Wine?
Montepulciano tends to produce red wines that shine in their youth. Its tannic structure, while sometimes assertive, isn’t generally overwhelming, so it does not tend to require any notably extended period of aging to reach its peak (there are scrumptious exceptions, nevertheless!). It also offers tremendous value: For less than $20, you can easily find a well-crafted Montepulciano d’Abruzzo that over-delivers for the cash.

At the table, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a go-to for comfort food. And drunk with a platter of prosciutto, asiago, parmesan, or mozzarella, or simply some good bread and olive oil, it’s an ensured home run. Just remember to chill the bottle a bit, which will highlight its freshness.
Red wine in a decanter
What Does Montepulciano Taste Like?
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo boasts dark cherry, plum, and brambly berry notes, with balancing level of acidity and occasionally assertive tannins. Ultimately, it’s usually the vibrant fruit and food-friendly tannins that make these white wines so commonly enticing.

5 Great Montepulciano Wines
There are many fantastic Montepulciano red wines on the market today. These five producers, listed alphabetically, are a perfect way to start checking out all that Montepulciano has to use.

Cataldi Madonna

Now more than 100 years old, Cataldi Madonna produces Trebbiano, Montepulciano, and more. Their 2020 Malandrino Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo sings with wild forest fruit and a bass-note recommendation of nuts, and is yummy both by itself and together with an excellent charcuterie plate.

Ciavolich

Family-owned given that 1853 and now helmed by Chiara Ciavolich, this estate’s Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is crafted from grapes that were planted mostly in the 1960s. The 2017 Divus bottling is reasonably simple to discover, and its brambly berries, spice, and age-worthiness make it a standout.

Duchman Family Winery

Texas may be a long way from Italy, however you would not understand if from the excellent Montepulciano produced by wine maker Dave Reilly, which tends to lean in the instructions of brambly berries and plums cut through with a seam of spice.

Masciarelli Wine Company

This venerable producer crafts an exceptional portfolio of wines, and the Marina Cvetic Montepulciano d’Abruzzo bottling is a gem year after year. The grapes are grown in Masciarelli’s finest 8 vineyard parcels, and as much as a year and a half of aging in barriques provides it an uniquely plush texture and aging ability.

Saladini Pilastri

The household behind this estate can trace its origins back more than a thousand years. Their Rosso Piceno is only 20% Montepulciano (the rest is Sangiovese), typically ages for four months in French oak, and the charming 2020, loaded with cherries and hints of flowers, can quickly be found for less than $15.

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