My wine of the week is Rosso di Montepulciano. This denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) wine has been woefully underrated in my view with very few people even aware of the location of Montepulciano, often forgotten or seen as a poor relative of Montalcino or worse, thought to be in Abruzzo and made from the Montepulciano grape.
Let’s start with the basics:
Montepulciano is a town in Tuscany famous for its red wines made from the Sangiovese grape which is called Prugnolo Gentile in this area, in particular Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. However, a second wine that spends less time in wood, has softer and more approachable tannins is also made and it is called Rosso di Montepulciano.
Rosso di Montepulciano traditionally is made with smaller percentages of two additional grape varieties that are grown only in Tuscany, Canaiolo Nero and Mammolo. The wine undergoes a long maceration on the skins and then usually spends seven to eight months in large oak barrels before being released into the market.
It is soft and a little bit velvety with fine round tannins but without sacrificing Sangiovese’s signature acidity, a necessary counterpart to much of the local cuisine.
Perfect with a meat sauce from this neck of the woods or any of the grilled meats, I had a great bottle from 2010 last night with a “Tagliata with Rucola e Scaglie di Parmigiano,” a thinly cut style of beef that I love when in Italy.
Tomorrow is the Italian Wine Masters event featuring the Consorzi of Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti Classico, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Prosecco. I’m looking forward to the event. I will be helping to pour wines for my dear friend, Susanna Crociani or Crociani Wines.
Susanna is a dear friend and I am a big fan of her wines and of Montepulciano. I’ve written about it many times such as in this post from last year.
Last year I was pouring older Brunellos but this year I will be focused on Vino Nobile di Montepulicano. I feel like this DOCG from Tuscany never really gets its fair shake, squeezed by Brunello, Chianti and Super-Tuscans of great fame but Vino Nobile is an real gem that shouldn’t be ignored. The Rosso di Montepulicano is a very affordable lovely blend that is easy on the palate and on the wallet. The Vino Nobile,while a “bigger” wine in all ways is still a great wine both in terms of price and quality.
Susanna’s version is very traditional made with only indigenous varietals: Prugnolo Gentile, Canaiolo Nero and Mammolo in large oak barrels. She is a true ambassador for her region and keeping the faith.
I hope those in the trade will come by and taste this great wine, Susanna’s as well as other producers. I wrote an article for the Sommelier Journal on another famed producer from the area, Avignonesi.
As you can see, I am a big fan of this beautiful land. In fact, the picture on my blog is taken from Susanna’s agriturismo, il Cantastorie. I can’t wait to go back.
See you tomorrow then!
Christmas is a joyous and special time for me. Every year I look forward to seeing my family and having a very special meal. We always have roast beef on Christmas and every year I try a different wine as a pairing. This year we had a Vino Nobile di Montepulciano from Avignonesi.
It was a perfect match I must say although I was nervous because it was a 2003, a very hot year. The wine still had lots of fruit, elegant tannins and a velvety nuanced flavor as it slid comfortably down my throat.
The wine was made from a blend of 85% Prugnolo Gentile, 10% Canaiolo Nero, and 5% Mammolo. It spends 18 months in wood barrels and then a further nine months in the bottle before it is released.
We also had a fabulous dessert wine, a Vin Santo from Susanna Crociani. Susanna is a dear friend and her Vin Santo is my favorite dessert wine. She very lovingly sent my family a bottle for Christmas-THANK YOU. I have written about this wine many times and did a podcast with her about it about a year ago.
I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas filled with great wine, family and friends, and good cheer.