Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is an Italian wine region situated in Tuscany. It is often confused with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, but the 2 have very little in common apart from the fact they are both red wines.
One is a wine region, the other a grape variety.
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano can be literally translated Noble Wine from Montepulciano, which in this case is the name of a city.
It is only produced as a red wine and as a Vin Santo – a sweet style of wine. It has received the DOCG status in 1980. DOCG stands for Denominazione di Origine Contrallata e garantita. This means the wine is produced in a designated area and made and aged in a specific way using only authorised grape varieties. It basically guarantees a higher quality of wine.
Let’s discover this stunning and noble region together.
How to pronounce?
Vee –No No- bee- leh Dee Mon- teh- pull- chia- No
Where is Vino Nobile di Montepulciano from?
The wine must come from a designated area situated around the town of Montepulciano.
It is a gorgeous medieval town that is situated on top of a hill in the South East of Tuscany.
What are the main grape varieties of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano?
The main grape variety is THE king grape variety of Tuscany: Sangiovese which in Montepulciano is called Prugnolo Gentile, but it is Sangiovese.
Sangiovese has to make up at least 70% of the wine.
The remaining 30% can only be made with other grape varieties allowed in Tuscany. Typically though the main varieties will be Canaiolo, Colorino, Mammolo, and also international grape varieties such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
What are the different levels of wine?
The main wine is of course Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The wine has to be grown in the designated area and made from the grape varieties we have just discussed.
The wine has to be aged for a minimum of 2 years before being sold.
There then is the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva, which has to be produced in the same area, using the same grape varieties, but the wine needs to be aged for a minimum of 3 years.
We then have Rosso di Montepulciano, which is a younger often more fruity wine. Rosso di Montepulciano, follows the same rule as the “Nobile” but does not require any ageing.
Finally, we have a wine that is very different in style which is Vin Santo.
Vin Santo is a sweet wine. To make this wine, the best grapes are picked and then put out to dry to give a sweeter, more concentrated grape berry which in turn is going to help produce sweet wine.
There are 3 levels of Vin Santo di Montepulciano:
Vin Santo di Montelulpciano: Made with Malvasia and Grechetto grape varieties and aged a minimum of 3 years
Vin Santo di Montepulciano Riserva is also made with the same grape varieties as above and is aged for a minimum of 5 years in oak barrels.
Occhio di Pernicce Vin Santo di Montepulciano, must be made with at least 50% Sangiovese with the remaining 50% coming from other regional grape varieties. Occhio di Pernicce must be aged for 6 years in oak barrels.
What’s the bouquet of Vino Nobile like?
The typical nose is going to be a mix of fruit aromas such as raspberry, strawberry, plum together with notes of violet, tobacco and spices.
Rosso di Montepulciano will be more on the fresh fruit whereas the older riserva wine is going to also have notes of nuts and leather.
What does it taste like?
The typical style of Vino Nobile wine is high in acidity and tannin and generally medium in terms of sweetness.
The wines are very much classy and oak is often well integrated, helping round the wine to make it more elegant and velvety.
The wines age superbly and the wait or the extra price is well worth it for the best examples.
What food to pair with Vino Nobile di Montepulciano?
The acidity and tannic structure of these wines really makes for a great match to tomato based sauces, meats, especially fat rich meats and stronger meats.
Wild boar ragu and pasta is a fantastic and common match as is the local Tuscan sausage and bean stew.
Also great matches are grilled meats, especially beef or stronger meats such as game.
What tastes similar?
If you enjoy this great wine, I would definitely recommend you look around Tuscany’s other amazing wines:
Brunello di Montalcino and Chianti Classico are of course 2 classics but maybe you could go off the beaten track just a bit and maybe try a Morellino di Scansano.
Top 5 Best Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
Fantastic estate, producing stunning Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Rosso di Montepulciano and Vin Santo
Their “Grandi Annate” and Occhio di Pernicce Vin Santo are mesmerising wines!
All the Vino Nobile wines from this estate are great but “Asinone” really stands out as a fantastic wine.
Corte alla Flora
A younger winery producing great examples of Vino Nobile, however their Riserva is something very special
Beautiful range of Vino Nobile. All the wines really are very good. A special mention to “Il Nocio” which is fabulous.. A beast!
Part of the Antinori family empire. Again, you can really select any of the wines from the estate in the confidence they will be outstanding.
The best vintages:
1980s’: 85, 88
1990s’: 95, 97, and 99
2000s’: 05, 06 and 07
2010s’: 10 and 12