Montepulciano is a famous and often misconstrued grape. It's the grape behind Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Colline Teramane and the Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) wines of Rosso Conero and Rosso Piceno.
Understandably, many confuse Montepulciano the grape with Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, a Tuscan wine region whose wines, perplexingly enough, are made from Sangiovese (not from Montepulciano as its name suggests).
The Montepulciano grape is at its best in the Abruzzo (due east of Rome), and the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo wine region was designated legally in 1968. Wines produced here tend to be medium-bodied, easy-drinking - and offer excellent value for money.
While many of Italy's famed red grapes (such as Sangiovese or Nebbiolo) are noted for high acidity, Montepulciano gives a soft and juicy wine.
As a result, they tend to be more accessible young - though a more 'serious' Montepulciano comes in the form of a 'Riserva.' These wines must be aged a minimum of two years before release - and with at least 6 months of this period spent in barrel.
Purple-colored wines of medium to full body, with soft cherry and berry flavors
Wines to Try
Villa Farnia di Farnese, Casale Vecchio
Abruzzo, Colline Teramane, Marche
SynonymsCordisco, Morellone, Primaticcio, Uva Abruzzi
- Wine laws permit up to 15% of Sangiovese to be added to Montepulciano d'Abruzzo DOC wines.
- In 1995, another DOC was created within Montepulciano d'Abruzzo known as Colline Teramane. Its regulations are slightly different, with wines having to be at least 90% Montepulciano and Riservas requiring at least 3 years' aging.
- Winemaker Sam Trimboli has produced a Montepulciano Down Under - but wasn't able to label it as such, because EU officials hadn't seen Aussie Montepulciano before. The wine was eventually released, labeled The Red Tape. It's not yet available here in the U.S., but keep watching this site for it.