Italian wine fanciers have undoubtedly heard the name Montepulciano bandied about. It's a grape and it's a place. But they plant no Montepulciano in Montepulciano. It's confusing...at first.
Many people are familiar with an Italian wine called Montepulciano, but most don’t know that there are actually two wines from Italy bearing the name Montepulciano and that they come from different parts of Italy and stylistically can be quite different.
One is named for the Montepulciano grape and is best known for the bold, fruity and affordable wines from the Abruzzo region on the Adriatic coast. The other wine gets its name from a place called Montepulciano which is a small, medieval town in the Sienna province of Tuscany. The town of Montepulciano produces the famous Vino Nobile di Montepulciano which is made primarily from the Sangiovese grape. These wines tend to be drier, earthier and more structured than wines made from the Montepulciano grape.
A little confusing? Yes, but one little trick to decipher which wine you’re looking at is to look at the Di or D’ in the name of the wine on the label. Those mean “from” in Italian and the word right after is where the wine came from. So if you see D’Abruzzo you will know the wine comes from Abruzzo and Di Montepulciano denotes the wine is from Montepulciano.
A few things that aren’t confusing about these two wines is that both wines have broad crowd appeal, are excellent food wines and are great to be familiar with when perusing the wine list at your favorite Italian restaurant or when shopping for wines for that homemade Italian supper.
Here are some of the truly enjoyable wines that ought to clear up the confusion once and for all:
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is one of Italy’s greatest value wines and always a crowd pleaser so it’s always exciting when we discover a new one to bring into the store. Montefresco’s Montepulciano is a juicy, fruit forward and uncomplicated wine that is meant to be quaffable. It is a medium bodied wine with dark red cherry and plum fruits and touches of spice on the finish. This is a great every day wine that can pair with a wide variety of foods and at this price you can’t go wrong grabbing a few bottles.
$8.99 per bottle
Fantini’s Montepulciano is a classic example of the quaffable, rustic red and an amazing value. Each year they produce a medium bodied, juicy wine with dark red berry & plum fruits that is easy to drink and crowd pleasing. This affordable red pairs wonderfully with flavorful American-Italian foods, burgers, pizza, grilled meats and more.
$9.99 per bottle
La Quercia’s Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is one of our best selling Italian wines year after year and one of the best values in the store. This Montepulciano is bold and juicy but stylish and smooth with dark plum fruits, warm spices and a touch of earth. Everything you want in a Montepulciano! 100% organic too!
$12.99 per bottle
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is always a crowd pleasing, juicy Italian red wine that goes great with a wide variety of foods but this is La Quercia’s Riserva Montepulciano which is aged longer and in oak barrels that really elevates this normally rustic wine. Their2014 Riserva is dark, rich and smooth with ripe plum and blackberry fruits and notes of earth and spice. This is made for richer pastas and meats. An amazing value and 100% organic!
$18.99 per bottle
La Quercia is our best selling Montepulciano producer and consistently makes high quality wines year after year. This ‘Colline Teramane’ bottling is a special reserve wine and yes 2010 is the current release. A special selection of perfectly ripe grapes are picked for this wine which then undergo a long maceration prior to extended oak aging. This creates a big, complex and rich Montepulciano wine with plenty of earth, spice and tannic structure. This wine shows that Montepulciano can be elevated to a serious, age worthy wine. La Quercia calls this a “meditation wine” and recommends letting the wine breathe for a few hours prior to drinking.
$29.99 per bottle
Poliziano’s Rosso wine is a blend of 80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot. It’s a fresh, fruit driven wine with palate cleansing acidity and just the right amount of tannins to pair with a wide variety of foods. This is a great wine to pair with American-Italian tomato based dishes but has the depth to handle chicken and meat dishes as well. Grab a couple bottles because this wine goes down way too easy!
$14.99 per bottle
As the name implies, Vino Nobile is one of Tuscany’s most noble and historic wines with mentions of the great red wine in the town of Montepulciano dating back to the 1600’s. Poliziano is one of the most respected Montepulciano growers and consistently produces rich, polished Vino Nobile wines year after year. Poliziano’s 2016 Vino Nobile is a solid example of an age-worthy Vino Nobile. The bold wine is powerful, yet elegant with sour cherry and blackberry fruits, notes of wild herbs and hints of vanilla and toasted oak. It is a well-structured and balanced wine with good acidity and pleasant tannins. Great with rich meat pasta dishes and roasted or grilled meats. #54 Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines 2019.
$29.99 per bottle