Montepulciano (maan-tuh-pul-chee-aa-now) is both a grape as well as a town in southern Tuscany, though the two are not connected.
Montepulciano grape is best-known for wines from Southern Italy’s Abruzzo, Marche, and Molise regions; the Montepulciano grape is not even grown in the town of Montepulciano.
Note that there is a Montepulciano DOC and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG connected to the Tuscan town of the same name. These wines are made of Sangiovese and not the Montepulciano grape.
Dominant flavors include black fruits, sour cherry, and red plum with subtle notes of oregano, pepper, and tobacco.
The Montepulciano grape is the second most planted grape in the whole of Italy, only slightly edging out Barbera. Italy’s most planted is Sangiovese.
Montepulciano wines are much-loved for their bold colors and soft flavors with subtle tannins and low acidity. These medium-bodied wines are not typically ageworthy, however use of oak to build up structure works does yield longer lasting and richer Montepulciano wine.
In addition to single varietal wines, Montepulciano blends well with other varieties, most notably Sangiovese.
WHERE TO FIND THE MONTEPULCIANO GRAPE
The Montepulciano grape is primarily grown in the Italian wine regions of Abruzzo, Marche, Molise, and even Puglia. Outside of Italy, Argentina, the USA, New Zealand, and Australia are producing it in very small quantities.
WHEN IS THE RIGHT MOOD FOR MONTEPULCIANO WINE?
HOW TO ENJOY MONTEPULCIANO WINE
MONTEPULCIANO FOOD PAIRING
Rich, savory foods pair well with Montepulciano’s strong herbal, tobacco flavors and grippy tannins. Beef brisket, roasted gamey meats and vegetables, and pizza are great pairs.
PRACTICAL TIPS FOR MONTEPULCIANO WINE
Glassware: Red wine glass.
Shelf life: Most Montepulciano wine should be consumed within a year or two, but more rich expressions benefit from holding for four+ years.
Bottle Prices: The average bottle cost between $10 – $20.
MONTEPULCIANO WINE RECOMMENDATIONS
Looking for Montepulciano recommendations? Here are a few suggested sips.
Cantina Zaccagnini Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Rosé (Abruzzo, Italy)
Carpe Travel collaborated with Valerie Quintanilla to compile the grape varietal overviews. Valerie and her son Il Ragazzino reside in Barolo, Piedmont, Italy, by way of Denver, Colo. She runs a custom Italian travel planning business while moonlighting as a marketing consultant for European wine and travel companies. She has been featured in Wine Enthusiast, Food & Wine Magazine, Open Skies (Emirate Airlines inflight magazine), and more. Follow her expat and wine chronicles here https://linktr.ee/valeriekq.