Friday, February 18, 2022

What's the Difference: Montepulciano of Abruzzo and Montepulciano in Tuscany?

Between finally getting over covid the last couple weeks and recovering from the congestion, I've yet to have some wine that I could taste to share with you all.  I figured this was a perfect time to share some practical information on Italian wine that you may find useful.

Have you ever been in the market for Italian wine and noticed there are red wines named Montepulciano d'Abruzzo and also wines named Vino Nobile di Montepulciano or even Rosso di Montepulciano?  What is the difference between these two wines since they both are labeled with Montepulciano?  There is actually quite the difference between them so let's dig in.

Montepulciano from Abruzzo

Montepulciano d'Abruzzo wines hail from the region of Abruzzo located in central Italy on the eastern coastline along the Adriatic.  The grape that primarily makes up these wines are based on the Montepulciano grape.  This is a native red grape to the Abruzzo wine region and is found as a baseline in many of the red wines of this area.  

Abruzzo wine region with Montepulciano d'Abruzzo DOC
Copyright of Federdoc

Montepulciano is a thick-skinned grape that needs the right climate and is a late harvesting wine as well.  It produces wines that are deeply ruby colored, fuller bodied with a higher alcohol and tannin profile.  You'll notice more red fruit notes in these wines as well.  

The Montepulciano d'Abruzzo DOC appellation was the first DOC in Abruzzo established back in 1968.  It encompasses a vast part of the region so there is much variation in the styles of wines from producer to producer.  Some of the best are going to show much more complexities leaning towards a fuller body with higher alcohol and tannins present.  This DOC spans from the coastline and hills from the Marche region in the north to Molise in the south.  The wines produced under this DOC must be a minimum of 85% Montepulciano.

Here are some prior posts featuring some Montepulciano d'Abruzzo wines:

Montepulciano in Tuscany
Now what does that mean for those labeled Vino Nobile di Montepulciano or Rosso di Montepulciano?  So much so that we're in a totally different region into Tuscany.  These wines also aren't even based on the Montepulciano grape.  They are based on Sangiovese.  

Montepulciano is such a great Tuscan town that I've had the privilege to visit a few times now.  It's a medieval hilltop Tuscan town located in the southern part of Tuscany in the province of Siena.  The wines span mostly around the town of Montepulciano on the western side of the area, but are separated by the eastern part of Valiano by the Val di Chiana.  
Town of Montepulciano in Tuscany
The Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG wines and the lesser stringent restrictions of the Rosso di Montepulciano DOC, are primarily based on the Sangiovese grape, also known as Prugnolo Gentile, requiring a minimum of 70%.  

As you can see we are talking two different regions, two different grapes, and two very different wines both great in their own way.  Check out some of my prior posts on wines from Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Rosso di Montepulciano.

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