The Tuscan red you need to try right now - and which we happen to make.
You may know Chianti. You may know the Brunellos. You may also know about the Barolos….but perhaps you don't know much about the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano - aka the wine that we make here in Montepulciano.
Which grapes are we talking about here?
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is a red wine made primarily from the Sangiovese (aka prugnolo gentile) grape. The wine is aged for a minimum of two years (often for much longer) before being released for sale.
Fun fact: the reason it’s called ‘Vino Nobile’
It was referred to as the ‘King of Wines’ in a poem, ‘Bacchus in Tuscany’, written in 1685 by the Italian physician and poet Francesco Redi and thereby acquired the Italian name for ‘nobile wine’.
Another fun fact: it was the first wine to get the DOCG seal back in 1980
DOCG = denominazione di origine controllata e garantita = a labelling system which essentially (i) confirms the origin of the wine; and (ii) is a guarantee, by the Italian government, that the wine is of especially high quality. Each DOCG-labeled wine must pass a wine quality tasting panel.
So what makes it a Tuscan wine I need to know about?
The elegance of the wine — the dance between the Sangiovese grape and the terroir is reflected in the softness of the wine. It is structured with fine tannins, and a real pleasure to drink.
Go on, talk to the wine geek in me — tasting notes?
According to Wine Insiders, the Nobile
offers primary flavours of cherry, plum, strawberry, and dark berries, with subtle spice and earth notes. In contrast to stronger reds, Nobile wines have medium-bodied and tannin composition, balanced with cleansing high acidity.
It pairs well with red meat, game, and hard, aged cheeses. However, it is extremely versatile and can be enjoyed as an aperitivo or with a full meal.
Ok, but is this a wine for special occasions or can I enjoy it with my friends on the weekend?
A really good Nobile will set you back by about $35 which, for a quality Italian wine, is a really good price point.
The reason this is Italy’s best kept wine secret? The production of the Nobile is small compared to some of its Tuscan neighbours (Chianti, Brunello). It appears that those that taste it tend to want to keep it to themselves!
Small quantity, amazing quality and a reasonable price.
I’ve heard of ‘Montepulciano d’Abruzzo’ — is it the same wine?
For the sake of our friendship (or whatever else exists between us in this cosmic space), we will pretend like you didn’t ask that question.
(The answer by the way is a resounding ‘No’. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is from Abruzzo — a wine made from the ‘Montepulciano’ grape. It really has nothing to do with the town of Montepulciano or for that matter the region of Tuscany (other than the obvious confusion with the name!)).
Ok, I’m off to get a bottle of Nobile — which one should I try?
There are over 80 producers of the Nobile and each one has their own methodology and way of making this fantastic wine. Having said that, if you want to start strong (and who doesn’t?) and since ours isn't yet ready to drink (watch this space!), we would suggest trying one (or more) of these, if you can get your hands on them. The first two are big producers and the third and fourth are boutique producers.
We hope you enjoy discovering this wonderful appellation and perhaps you will also be inspired to visit us here in Montepulciano, Tuscany during your future travels.
Paari & Niall