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!
Delinquente 2018 The Bullet Dodger Montepulciano (Riverland)South AustraliaThis is a strong vintage of Montepulciano from this natural, small-batch producer. ...Editors’ ChoiceSee Full Review$22
Pelletiere 2017 Estate Montepulciano (Paso Robles Willow Creek District)Central CoastDried berries, leather and game aromas arise on the deep and hearty ...See Full Review$48
Mr. Riggs 2017 Generation Series D' Montepulciano (Adelaide)South AustraliaIt's rare to see Montepulciano on its own in South Australia, but ...See Full Review$27
Di Majo Norante 2013 Don Luigi Riserva Montepulciano (Molise)Southern ItalyAromas of baked cherry dipped in liquor, tobacco and menthol show nice ...See Full Review$33
Contesa 2013 Riserva (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo)Central ItalyAromas of spiced blackberry, cherry and fig offer a solid core to ...See Full Review$36
Masciarelli 2013 Villa Gemma Riserva (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo)Central ItalyIntense ruby in color with a saturated purple rim, this riserva displays ...Cellar SelectionSee Full Review$95
Masciarelli 2014 Villa Gemma Riserva (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo)Central ItalyDense aromas of brandied cherry, coffee, cocoa powder and anise define the ...Cellar SelectionSee Full Review$95
Terzini 2015 Vigna Vetum (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo)Central ItalyAromas of cherry and raspberry jam mix with peppery spice on the ...See Full Review$35
Cantina Tollo 2014 Riserva (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo)Central ItalyAromas of coffee, dark chocolate and condensed black berries start off the ...See Full Review$25
Ciavolich 2007 Fosso Cancelli (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo)Central ItalyThis unfiltered wine from Loreto Aprutino was fermented in concrete. An earthy ...See Full Review$48
La Valentina 2015 Bellovedere Riserva (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo)Central ItalyA heady mix of mentholated herbs, tobacco and anise shows good integration ...See Full Review$41
Fantini 2012 Opi Riserva Vino Biologico (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Colline Teramane)Central ItalyOpaque ruby in color with purple highlights, this offers a heady dose ...See Full Review$43
Cantina Tollo 2013 Cagiòlo Riserva (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo)Central ItalyRestrained aromas of dark cherry, wild berry, tobacco and sweet spices open ...See Full Review$35
Contesa 2016 Montepulciano d'AbruzzoCentral ItalyThere's a fresh, bright intensity to this wine, with aromas of red ...Editors’ ChoiceSee Full Review$22
Annona 2017 Modo Antico (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo)Central ItalyInitially very closed on the nose, this took some time in the ...See Full Review$24
Valle Martello 2012 Prima Terra (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo)Central ItalyAromas of tobacco, plum and cherry show excellent intensity on the nose. ...See Full Review$27
Ciavolich 2012 Antrum (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo)Central ItalySourced from vineyards in Loreto Aprutino, this red offers bright blackberry and ...See Full Review$27
Ciavolich 2015 Divus (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo)Central ItalyThere's nice lift to the nose, displaying bright cherry, peppercorn and delicate ...See Full Review$23
Citra 2015 Caroso Riserva (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo)Central ItalyA well-concentrated nose of black cherry and berry aromas shows good integration ...See Full Review$30
Agriverde 2015 Solàrea (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo)Central ItalyA dense nose of cherry, blackberry, pepper and clove is well-integrated with ...See Full Review$38
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