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August 24, 2021 44 min

Photo: Consorzio del Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

The Nobile Wine of Montepulciano is a wine based on a clone of Sangiovese and from a small hillside town in Tuscany called Montepulciano. It is, indeed, one of the great wines of the world. Although often overshadowed by its neighbors – Brunello di Montalcino and Chianti Classico – and confused with a grapey, high yielding producer in Abruzzo (the Montepulciano grape), this wine has class, style, and a legacy of greatness to back it up.


After ups and downs over nearly 2000 years of winemaking, Vino Nobile is experiencing a quiet revival and it's one of my favorite wines in Italy. Moderate in body with an interplay of fruit, herb, and brooding tea and forest-y aromas and flavors, this is a wine that those in the know (you!) will immediately fall in love with. With its latest comeback, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is back and better than ever. And who doesn’t love a comeback story?

Photo: Getty Images

Here are the show notes:

  • We discuss where exactly this hillside town is: in Tuscany, southeast of Siena, 40 minutes east of Montalcino
  • We talk about the specific regulations the region has built into law to try to improve the wines:
  • Grapes must grow on the slopes to qualify for the Vino Nobile DOCG
  • 70-100% Sangiovese or 30% other red varietals (Colorino, Canaiolo Nero, Mammolo, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, other local grapes) and up to 5% Malvasia and other whites
  • You can find all the laws here, as well as the requirements for aging. Here is the official page from the Consorzio del Vino di Montepulciano with the latest rules on aging, yields, etc. They also have proposed Pieve, as of 2021.
  • We address the elephant in the room: Montepulciano IS not the grape, this wine is from the PLACE called Montepulciano!!!
  • We get you squared away on the difference between these two wines – Montepulciano is a grape that makes an US$8-$10 wine. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is the noble wine made from Sangiovese in the Tuscan town of Montepulciano. It is based on a clone Sangiovese – Prugnolo Gentile
  • History
  • The wine has been noted since 55 AD.
  • Montepulciano has been praised by merchants, authors, Popes, and politicians like Thomas Jefferson
  • Phylloxera, mildews, World Wars, the Depression, and then an emphasis on quantity versus quality put the wines of Montepulciano in a real funk. It got lumped in with Chianti, lost its status, and that was a real setback for the region
  • In 2017, six like-minded Montepulciano winemakers created a small association called Alliance Vinum to show the purest expression of single-vineyard Sangiovese/Prugnolo Gentile. The group calls these wines Nobile instead of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano to avoid confusion with the southern Italian grape. Here are the wines of this group:
  • Avignonesi: Nobile Poggetto di Sopra
  • Boscarelli: Costa Grande
  • Cantine Dei: Madonna della Querce
  • La Braccesca, an estate of the Antinori family: Podere Maggiarino
  • Poliziano: Le Caggiole after a 20-year pause,
  • Salcheto: Salco Vecchie Viti
  • Photo: Getty Images

    Other wines we mention…

  • Rosso di Montepulciano 
  • Vin Santo 

    We review Pairing Suggestions with Vino Nobile di Montepulciano:

  • Antipasti --Grilled Vegetables, fresh cheeses, cured meats like prosciutto, salami
  • Pasta with tomato, truffle, Bolognese, mushrooms sauces
  • Risottos with mushrooms
  • Pizza, lasagna, eggplant
  • Braised and roasted game, red meats. Stews.
  • Portabella mushrooms
  • Ribollita
  • Hard cheeses
  • Photo: Getty Images


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