Wine of the Week: Rosso di Montepulciano

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.

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