Montepulciano is a red grape variety planted widely throughout central Italy. It is most prominent in Abruzzo, where it produces Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. The grape is also known as Cordisco, Morellone and Uva Abruzzese.
The best Montepulciano wines are deep-colored and have ripe and powerful tannins. These characteristics make it an ideal blending component alongside less hardy grape varieties. As a single varietal, quality Montepulciano wines have pungent aromas reminiscent of game meats, spice, pepper and earth.
The most famous Montepulciano wine comes from the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC). The wines have a deep, rich color, strong aromatics and a full-bodied, robust structure. The region had a reputation for excessively high yields, which inevitably lead the historic production of some lesser quality wines. Today, there are many quality producers in the region, and the best wines exhibit the grape’s naturally high acidity, tannin and alcohol.
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wines can represent excellent value for the money and are widely exported. Some producers add Sangiovese to the blend, though according to DOC regulations, the blend must contain at least 85% Montepulciano.
The highest quality Montepulciano wines from Abruzzo tend to come from vineyards around the Teramo hills in the north. Since 2003, there has been a separate Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) designation for these wines: They can be labelled as Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane DOCG. The blend for these higher quality wines must contain a minimum of 90% Montepulciano grapes, with up to 10% of the blend permitted to contain Sangiovese.
North of Abruzzo is the small region of Marche. Here, Montepulciano is the key grape variety in the red wines of Rosso Conero DOCG. The Montepulciano grape is sometimes blended with small amounts of Sangiovese in Rosso Piceno wines.
Montepulciano can also be found in the Italian regions of Puglia, Molise, Maremma and Umbria. Outside of Italy, small quantities of Montepulciano are grown in Australia, The United States and New Zealand.
Montepulciano is also the name of a town in Tuscany, where a high-quality red wine called Vino Nobile de Montepulciano is produced. This wine is not made from the Montepulciano grape, however, so the two should not be confused. Vino Nobile de Montepulciano is based primarily on the Sangiovese grape variety, though can be blended with other grapes, including Canaiolo, Merlot and Syrah.
Peruse a variety of Montepulciano wines, tested and rated by our expert wine tasters at Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Search the database below to learn more about this robust varietal!
Masciarelli 2015 Villa Gemma Riserva (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo)Central ItalyThis top-of-the-line Montepulciano impresses in rich aromas of cocoa, cigar box, dill ...Cellar SelectionSee Full Review$90
Amorotti 2016 Montepulciano d'AbruzzoCentral ItalyDense aromas of black plum and blackberry are lifted by accents of ...See Full Review$44
Francesco Cirelli 2018 Montepulciano d'AbruzzoCentral ItalyFreshly pressed blackberries, cherries and cranberries take on earthy elements of crushed ...Editors’ ChoiceSee Full Review$22
Cantina Tollo 2015 Cagiòlo Riserva (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo)Central ItalyDensely packed aromas of brandy-soaked plums and blackberries meld with seamless accents ...Cellar SelectionSee Full Review$35
Terra d'Aligi 2016 Tatone (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo)Central ItalyDense aromas of brandy-dipped cherries and blackberries meld with firm doses of ...See Full Review$17
Contesa 2017 Montepulciano d'AbruzzoCentral ItalyDense aromas of brandy-soaked red cherry and plum meet a firm blend ...See Full Review$19
Talamonti 2017 Tre Saggi (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo)Central ItalyThis lavish red is all about rich fruit and warm spices. A ...See Full Review$19
Illuminati 2018 Lumeggio (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo)Central ItalyAromas of brandy-dipped cherries, wet tobacco and warm spices carry the well-concentrated ...See Full Review$18
Amorotti 2017 Cerasuolo d'AbruzzoCentral ItalyThis stand-out Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo starts off with an engaging nose of fresh-pressed ...Editors’ ChoiceSee Full Review$35
Francesco Cirelli 2017 Cerasuolo d'AbruzzoCentral ItalyThis textural pink wine was fermented with indigenous yeast in amphora, giving ...Editors’ ChoiceSee Full Review$20
Tiberio 2019 Cerasuolo d'AbruzzoCentral ItalyThis richly hued pink wine starts off with a nose of freshly ...Editors’ ChoiceSee Full Review$20
Valentini 2018 Cerasuolo d'AbruzzoCentral ItalyPretty closed upon opening, this needs some time to stitch together, so ...See Full Review$130
Europa Village 2017 Vienza Montepulciano (Temecula Valley)South CoastItalian grapes seem to thrive in this warmer region, as evidenced in ...See Full Review$36
Illuminati 2019 Lumeggio di Rosa (Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo)Central ItalyThis rich wine is an excellent example of the Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo style. ...See Full Review$20
Masciarelli 2019 Villa Gemma Superiore (Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo)Central ItalyThis vibrantly hued cherry-red Cerasuolo kicks off with brisk aromas of red-apple ...See Full Review$20
Cirelli la Collina Biologica 2018 Cerasuolo d'AbruzzoCentral ItalyRich aromas of juicy red cherry and cranberry carry meld with an ...See Full Review$18
Annona 2018 Cerasuolo d'AbruzzoCentral ItalyA bit closed upon opening, after time this offers a pretty nose ...See Full Review$22
Cantina Tollo 2019 Hedòs (Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo)Central ItalyPerfumed aromas of apple blossom and cherry carry the delightfully floral nose. ...See Full Review$25
Cataldi Madonna 2019 Malandrino (Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo)Central ItalyAromas of crushed limestone, red-cherry skin and blood-orange rind make an engaging, ...Best BuySee Full Review$15
Tenuta I Fauri 2019 Baldovino (Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo)Central ItalyRich red-cherry in color, this Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo is inviting in aromas of ...See Full Review$15
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