Nobile di Montepulciano
Nobile di Montepulciano is one of Tuscany’s oldest and most renowned wines. It is made from Sangiovese grapes grown around the town of Montepulciano in Southeastern Tuscany. Locally, the Sangiovese grape is known as Prugnolo Gentile, but it is still just the Sangiovese grape grown in the soil surrounding Montepulciano. Sangiovese has to make up at least 70% of the wine. The remaining 30% can only be made with other grape varieties grown in Tuscany. Typically, the main varieties will be Canaiolo, Colorino, Mammolo, and sometimes, depending on the vintner, international grape varieties such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
There are four varieties of wine produced around Montepulciano.
- Nobile di Montepulciano (commonly known as Vino Nobile di Montepulciano). This wine must be blended as mentioned above and aged for a minimum of two years before being distributed.
- Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva must follow the same rules but must be aged for a minimum of three years.
- Rosso di Montepulciano is a younger, fruitier wine still made with the same grapes but with no aging requirements.
- Vin Santo is a sweet wine meant for sipping as a digestivo or for dipping cantucci or biscotti cookies. The grapes for Vin Santo are picked and then hung out to dry to produce a concentrated grape juice that is sweet and syrupy. Here, too, there are various levels of Vin Santo di Montepulciano. The first is made with Malvasia and Grechetto grape varieties that are aged a minimum of three years. Vin Santo di Montepulciano Riserva is made with the same grape varieties and is aged for a minimum of five years in oak barrels. Occhio di Pernicce Vin Santo di Montepulciano must be made with at least 50% Sangiovese grapes, with the remaining 50% coming from other regional grape varieties. Occhio di Pernicce must be aged for six years in oak barrels. These wines are only produced as red wine Vin Santo.
The typical Nobile di Montepulciano is usually high in acidity and tannin. As they are aged in oak barrels, these wines are often more elegant and classy with a velvety finish. Because of the high acidity and tannins, these wines pair well with tomato-based sauces, fatty cold cuts such as salami and prosciutto, and Tuscan specialties like wild boar ragu and beefsteak Fiorentina.
The top producers in the area are:
Avignonesi – producing superb Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Rosso di Montepulciano and Vin Santo. If you can get your hands on it, try their “Grandi Annate” and Occhio di Pernice Vin Santo, which are fantastic.
Poliziano – the Nobile wines from this estate are great, but “Asinone” really stands out as a fantastic wine.
Corte alla Flora – try their Riserva for a special, more refined blend.
Boscarelli – for a splurge, try “Il Nocio”.
La Braccesca – this is a part of the Antinori family holdings, and any wine from this estate is top notch.
Many agree the best vintages are:
- 1980s: '85, '88
- 1990s: '95, '97, '99
- 2000s: '05, '06, '07
- 2010s: '10, '12
Visit intovino.com to see the full chart and learn more about Vino Nobile.
Not to be confused with…
One Final note. There is another wine with a similar name that is often confused with Nobile di Montepulciano. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a red wine made from the Montepulciano grape, which is grown in the region of Abruzzo in the east-central part of Italy. This wine is good and easy drinking but far inferior to Nobile. In the past 20 years it has gained a reputation as one of the most widely exported DOC wines from Italy.
Tours to Italy
Interested in sampling a local Nobile? Join us on one of our upcoming tours.
Essence of Italy – A 9-day tour with stops in Rome, the Cinque Terre, Pisa, Volterra, Siena and Florence.
2018: June 24-July 2, September 16-24, October 14-22.
2019: April 7-15, May 5-13, June 30-July 8, September 22-30
Best of Italy – A 13-day tour. All the destinations of the Essence of Italy, plus Venice, Lake Como and Milan.
2018: June 24-July 7, September 16-29, October 14-27.
2019: April 7-20, May 5-18, June 30-July 13, September 22-October 5
Tuscany Villa Vacation – Enjoy a relaxing stay in a Tuscan villa with day trips to Volterra, Siena, San Gimignano and Lucca. Begin and end your tour in Florence.
2019: May 24-June 2, September 13-22
Your Adventure Starts Here!