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Vino Nobile di Montepulciano: The Story of a Tuscan Fine Wine

Nobile de Montepulciano

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is a Tuscan fine wine that has an incredibly rich history dating back to the 14th century. This exquisite Italian red wine is made from mostly Sangiovese grapes grown on the slopes of Montepulciano in Tuscany, Italy. It’s a delicious wine that is often overshadowed by its famous Tuscan neighbors, or is confused with the grape variety, Montepulciano, which is also produced in Central Italy. But it’s certainly worth searching out and discovering this delicious, interesting wine. 

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Understanding the Terroir and Climate Conditions that Make Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Unique

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano’s unique taste is the product of a combination of great terroir and climatic conditions surrounding the village of Montepulciano. This Tuscan village enjoys hot days and cool nights during the summer, which allow the grapes to ripen slowly and fully. This slow maturation process allows for a more balanced, complex flavor profile to develop in the final product. 

The soil composition of this area is mainly clay-based with some limestone, giving it a distinct acidity that helps create an especially vibrant and velvety texture. The combination of these soils along with a slightly higher altitude creates an ideal environment for the region’s production. These environmental factors also account for the robust tannins and a long finish on the palate.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is not only unique because of its terroir, it also has a centuries-old legacy which contributes to its prestige. For centuries, Italian winemakers have been refining their methods to create this exceptional fine wine through traditional techniques such as barrel aging, extended maceration periods, and careful blending. 

Vineyard in Montepulciano Tuscany
The picturesque beauty of Montepulciano, Tuscany through its breathtaking vineyards, where the finest wines come to life.

Exploring the History

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is a wine with a long and rich history. It has been produced for centuries, using traditional winemaking techniques that have been passed down through generations of Italian vintners. This region was one of the most famous wine regions in the world several centuries ago. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano appeared on the tables of Popes and kings; in fact the Nobile in its name refers to the fact it was meant for nobles. Thomas Jefferson even wrote that it was one of his favorite wines. 

Did You Know: Vino Nobile di Montepulciano was a favorite of Pope Paul III in the 16th century. 

But like the rest of Tuscany, its fame diminished in mid 20th century, and only relatively recently has the region recovered some its former fame. Though it has regained some popularity, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is still often overshadowed by its other Sangiovese producing neighbors, Brunello di Montalcino and Chianti.

What Makes This Region Unique

Many regions in Tuscany produce red wines from the Sangiovese grape variety, so what makes Vino Nobile di Montepulciano special? First, this region has its own unique clone of Sangiovese called Prugnolo Gentile. It’s slightly more acidic and elegant compared to Brunello di Montalcino’s Sangiovese clone. And unlike Brunello di Montalcino which is required to be 100% Sangiovese, Vino Nobile allows their wine to include other grape varieties. The law states that in order to be Vino Nobile the wine must be at least 70% Sangiovese, but native grapes like Canaiolo and Mammolo may also be included.

Additionally Vino Nobile di Montepulciano requires all their wine to be aged at least 24 months, though many producers choose to age their wine longer.

Did You Know: A second wine is produced in Montepulciano called Rosso di Montepulciano. These wines are generally made with the lesser quality  grapes from the area, while the highest quality grapes are reserved for Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. These wines are often more affordable and easier drinking compared to Vino Nobile. 

Winemaking Techniques

The production begins with hand-harvested Sangiovese grapes from the slopes of Montepulciano. These are then crushed and fermented, usually in stainless steel tanks. At the same time as the fermentation the wine undergoes a process called maceration which helps extract additional tannins and color from the skins of the grapes. This step can last anywhere from one week to several months depending on the desired characteristics of the final product. 

Once maceration is complete, the wine is transferred into oak barrels for aging. Finally, before bottling wines from different barrels are blended to create a balanced flavor profile and deepen its complexity. The wine is then bottled and usually aged longer, depending on the producer, before being sold.

Italian Luxury Consulting. n.d. MontepulcianoPhotograph. Accessed December 1, 2023. https://italianluxury.consulting/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/montepulciano.jpg. ‌

Uncovering the Best Places to Buy Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Wines

The most exciting place to buy Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wines is directly from the wineries in Tuscany. Many of the wineries offer tours and tastings for visitors to learn more about the region and wine. Furthermore, they also sell bottles at reasonable prices to visitors. 

But since a trip to Tuscany is not always feasible, there are also many wine shops and online vendors that sell Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. These stores often have knowledgeable staff members who can help customers select the perfect bottle for their needs. They may also carry rare vintages or specialty blends that cannot be found elsewhere.

For those looking for a truly unique experience, attending a wine-tasting event can be a great way to sample different types of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wines. Many cities around the world host these events on an annual basis, allowing visitors to learn more about this fine wine while sampling some of the region’s finest producers. 

Visiting Montepulciano – Exploring the Region’s Rich Cultural Heritage

Visiting Montepulciano is like stepping back in time with its well-preserved medieval architecture, picturesque streets, and cobbled squares. The historic city center is full of charming shops and cafes where visitors can get a taste of traditional Tuscan culture. There are also numerous wine cellars open to the public that offer guided tastings along with incredible views of the surrounding countryside. 

In addition to great wines, Montepulciano is also known for its rich gastronomic culture. Visitors can enjoy classic Italian dishes such as spaghetti all amatriciana or pizza al pomodoro made with locally-sourced ingredients in one of the many family-run restaurants in town. 

For those looking for an even more immersive experience, there are several festivals held throughout the year in Montepulciano that celebrate local traditions and customs. The most popular event is the Bravio delle Botti – a barrel rolling competition that takes place on August 15th every year and brings teams from all over Tuscany to compete.

At night, visitors can enjoy live music performances at one of Montepulciano’s outdoor venues or take part in a themed dinner at one of the wineries nearby. With such vibrant cultural activities, it’s no surprise that Montepulciano has become an increasingly popular destination among tourists looking to experience true Tuscan hospitality and explore everything this amazing wine region has to offer.

Nobile de Montepulciano wine
The timeless elegance of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wines, a true testament to Tuscan craftsmanship and centuries-old tradition.

Creating a Perfect Meal Pairing

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is an incredibly versatile wine that pairs well with a wide range of dishes. Its balanced acidity and tannins make it an ideal accompaniment to hearty Italian cuisine such as pasta, risotto, and roasted vegetables. The robust flavors of this wine also pair well with rich meats such as beef and veal, as well as game like rabbit and pheasant. 

When choosing a meal to go with Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, it’s important to take into consideration the flavor profile of the wine. For example, the intense fruitiness found in some Vino Nobile wines can be complemented by slightly sweeter dishes like roasted root vegetables, caramelized onions, or tomato sauce. On the other hand, if your wine is more savory, tannic, and heavier bodied, heartier meat dishes or aged hard cheeses is a better pairing.  

Final Thoughts

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is a truly unique and exquisite wine that has been crafted with care for centuries. With its balanced acidity, tannins, and intense fruitiness, it can be enjoyed in many different ways, with many different kinds of food.

Whether you are looking to savor the flavor of this fine Tuscan wine at home or explore all that Montepulciano has to offer in person, there’s no doubt that Vino Nobile di Montepulciano will provide an unforgettable experience every time.

Want to read more on Tuscan Wine? Try these books!

The Finest Wines of Tuscany and Central Italy- A Regional and Village Guide to the Best Wines and Their Producers (The World's Finest Wines) WINE WINDOWS in Florence and Tuscany

References:

B, Ilenia. 2021. “The History of the Great Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano.” XtraWine Blog. November 18, 2021. https://blog.xtrawine.com/en/the-history-of-the-great-vino-nobile-di-montepulciano/.

Staff, words: VinePair. n.d. “Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano 101 | Learn about Red Wine from Montepulciano.” VinePair. Accessed December 1, 2023. https://vinepair.com/wine-101/vino-nobile-di-montepulciano-101/.

“The Noble Wine of Montepulciano | Wine Enthusiast.” n.d. Www.wineenthusiast.com. Accessed December 1, 2023. https://www.wineenthusiast.com/culture/wine/the-noble-wine-of-montepulciano/.

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