Body: Medium to full (but light if yields are high)
Tannin: Medium to high (typically soft)
Age: Ready to drink on release, but can improve for a few years in bottle. Serious wines from top producers have great aging potential.
Montepulciano (mon-tay-pool-CHANO) is an Italian grape variety that is frequently confused with the famous wine called Vino Nobile di Montepulciano made from the Sangiovese grape and named after the town of Montepulciano in Tuscany – see Sangiovese (Classic) in the Powerful style. It is easy to see how confusing this can be. The Montepulciano grape is widely grown in central and southern Italy, but is most closely associated with the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC where its best wine is made.
It is a good quality grape and can produce some lovely wines at quite modest prices. However, as Montepulciano is a prolific grape, yields can be very high which leads to light, if flavorsome, wines more in the Fruity style. A great deal of this light wine is produced by co-operative cellars. Such wines do not exhibit the true qualities of this grape which are only displayed when yields are managed by good winemakers who produce deliciously soft, yet rich, wines that have a great deal to offer. So, before you buy, check the producers name on the bottle.
Montepulciano is late ripening with typical soft tannins, even though they may be high, and tends to have lower acidity and less of a bitter cherry note than many Italian red wines. These features make its wines very smooth and approachable. Aromas of flowers, red berries and herbs are followed by flavors of plum, cherry and raspberry, along with earthy notes and a slightly spicy (pepper) finish. The biggest wines can be very concentrated and complex and as they mature display additional flavors of black fruits, olives, licorice and chocolate.
Montepulciano is ready to drink on release, but it can improve for a few years in bottle. Wines made with low yields by the top producers have great aging potential.
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