Montepulciano, pronounced “mon tae pull tjee AH noh”, is a black grape* from Italy.
Montepulciano is a grape with medium low acidity and low tannin levels. Its flavours are soft with more red than dark skinned berries and it is also known for its strong colour.
Montepulciano can be found as a dry varietal wine, but also in blends, above all with Sangiovese. The really good ones are known to come from Abruzzo, hence the name Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.
In Marche you can look for a wine called Rosso Piceno Superiore Rosso Conero . Most Montepulciano wines are better consumed young or at least within three to four years.
Given its fruitiness and soft tannins, a veal or poultry dish will pair excellently. The wine is best served at 12-14°C/54-57°F.
Where is it grown?
With 34.947 ha/86,356 ac, Montepulciano is not a large variety world-wide. Actually, in 2000 plantings were reported only from Italy.
It is however so much more important in its home country where it in 2010 was the second most planted variety in the country. The plantings had increased with twenty-two percent in ten years and was 34.824 ha/86,053 ac in 2010.
The variety can be found in the northern parts of Italy’s centre and further south. In the central northern regions, there are 17.483 ha/43,201 ac in Abruzzo, 3.214 ha/7,942 ac in Marche, and 2.526 ha/6,242 ac in Molise. Lazio holds some 645 ha/1,594 ac, Tuscany 208 ha/514 ac, and Umbria 198 ha/489 ac.
In the southern region of Puglia there are plantings of 9.080 ha/22,437 ac, and in Campania there are 638 ha/1,577 ac.
Outside of Italy there are plantings of 85 ha/210 ac in Argentina, and a very small, most likely experimental planting in Brazil.
Montepulciano is thought to be indigenous to Italy’s Abruzzo region. Another hypothesis is that it in some way is linked to the famous town in Tuscany with the same name. There are however no sources that talks in favour of this version. On the contrary, the grape Montepulciano only has a very small acreage in Toscana, and is furthermore not allowed in any of the Tuscan DOCG’s which one could expect to the case if it had originated there.
Its age remains as unclear as its origin, but it is thought to be of substantial age.
*The name Montepulciano also used as a synonym for another variety (the Italian grape Sangiovese), which has no known connection to the grape presented here.