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!
Hans Family Estate 2015 Secret of Marlborough Montepulciano (Marlborough)New ZealandLike others from this producer, the Montepulciano is not shy in the ...See Full Review$52
Trentadue 2017 Old Orchard Estate Montepulciano (Alexander Valley)SonomaSoft and supple in rustic blueberry, cranberry and cherry, this is a ...See Full Review$34
Emidio Pepe 2012 Montepulciano d'AbruzzoCentral ItalyThere's depth and richness to the dark plum and cherry fruit on ...See Full Review$160
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
Masciarelli 2018 Marina Cvetic S. Martino Rosso Riserva (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo)Central ItalyAromas of brandy-soaked dark cherry, anise, allspice and chopped mint show depth, ...See Full Review$32
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
Filomusi Guelfi 2017 Montepulciano d'AbruzzoCentral ItalyAromas of brand-dipped cherries and plums seamlessly meld with anise, allspice and ...Editors’ ChoiceSee Full Review$16
Tenuta I Fauri 2018 Baldovino (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo)Central ItalyAromas of fresh-pressed cherries and blackberries meld with accents of crushed herbs ...Best BuySee Full Review$15
Tiberio 2018 Montepulciano d'AbruzzoCentral ItalyA pleasing mix of wild cherry and blackberry melds with freshly chopped ...See Full Review$20
Annona 2018 Modo Antico (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo)Central ItalyA spicy, brambly nose gives way to depths of wild cherries and ...See Full Review$22
Azienda Agricola Monti 2015 Montepulciano d'AbruzzoCentral ItalyThere's surprising depth to this entry-level red, showing ripe red-cherry and blackberry ...Editors’ ChoiceSee Full Review$16
Contesa 2017 Montepulciano d'AbruzzoCentral ItalyDense aromas of brandy-soaked red cherry and plum meet a firm blend ...See Full Review$19
De Angelis Corvi 2017 Fonte Raviliano (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Colline Teramane)Central ItalyThere's a finessed quality to the nose of this wine, showing violet ...See Full Review$23
Talamonti 2017 Tre Saggi (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo)Central ItalyThis lavish red is all about rich fruit and warm spices. A ...See Full Review$19
Valle Reale 2013 Vigneto di Popoli (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo)Central ItalyBrandy-dipped cherries and blackberries meld with scrubby alpine herbs on the nose ...See Full Review$22
Torre Zambra 2018 VillamagnaCentral ItalyAllspice, anise and clove are blended into the rich dark-cherry and black-plum ...See Full Review$35
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
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