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A Practical Guide To Tasting Vino Nobile in Montepulciano Tucany

Polizanno WinesMontepulciano, Italy has amazing wines and foods!
Polizanno WinesMontepulciano, Italy has amazing wines and foods!
Darcy R Davies (C) 2013, all rights reserved

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano has a rich history; some have found indications that the Etruscans drank wine in the region as early as 789 A.D. The first official documentation for Vino Nobile di Montepulciano dates back to 1,350! This wine gained its name from the noblemen and poets who lovingly drank it.

Photo of Polizano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
Darcy Davies, all rights reserved

The Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wines and the town of Montepulciano are not to be confused with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, which is grown in Abruzzi near the Adriatic Sea.

If you plan to visit here are some useful tips:

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Wines
Vino Nobile is a Sangiovese-based blend, made primarily from a clone of prugnolo (which means little prune). Vino Nobile di Montepulciano was given DOCG status in 1980. The wines vary from thin and tart to spicy and bold. Maroon in color, a well-made Vino Nobile is chock full of dark cherry, ripe, rich plum flavors with great tannins and acidity. While the wines are always aged in oak, winemakers use large neutral barrels for maturation, carefully avoiding over-oaked flavors. When done well, these wines are meant to be laid down/cellared for several years. Our tasting panel tasted several dozen wines, but became especially fond of 2007 Vino Nobiles.

• Rosso di Montepulciano is produced from grapes grown in young vineyards. It is a modern, fresh and easy-to-drink wine. Drink also by the glass.

Vino Nobile is made from older vineyards
-Types available: Regular or vintage

"Selection" some producers produce additional Vino Nobile from a single vineyard or only with a selection of the best grapes or simply a different style (label) from their regular wine. These wines must be aged for a minimum of two years, one year in oak barrels.

“Riserva” wines are more concentrated with more body. Riservas are aged for a minimum of three years before released with a minimum of twelve months in oak barrels. This results in a higher bottle price. Locals enjoy these wines for special occasions.

Top Vino Nobile Wines By VinoTasting Panel:

Salcheto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano “Salco” 2006, (4.5 out of 5 stars!) $80
Best Wine!

Dark Ruby to a moderate rim. Aged for 24 months in oak. Medium plus intensity on the nose; this shows the earthy, vinous side of Sangiovese, with tobacco leaf,rhubarb, and tart, dried red fruit.
A distinct sweet note on the finish gives it balance and added richness. Drinking very well right now. Sophisticated…and lively!

Montemercurio Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2007 D.O.C.G. Damo, (4.5 out of 5 stars!) $26, Best Buy!
Medium ruby, consistent to a moderate water band. Made from grapes that are sourced from a 50-year-old vineyard (one of region’s oldest). Roasted cherry, hint of volatility on the nose, certainly an earthy style of wine in all respects. Dried cranberry, spice, and rosemary on the palate. Medium to full bodied, medium plus finish.

Dinning in Montepulciano
Montepulciano chefs serve up some amazing Tuscan cuisine. Customers can’t seem to have enough of the local pici (thick, hand-rolled pasta traditionally made only with flour and water), topped with ragu. But there are lots of other options including meats, poultry and fish. One thing is for sure – you will find plenty of local wines to pair with your meal!

Where to Eat:

Le Logge del Vignola Restaurant ****1/2
A wonderful, friendly, wine-centric restaurant with a selection of more than 500 wines! The chef focuses on using as many local ingredients as available. Try their
3-course tasting menu (€49). Wine pairings are available at extra cost. It includes
a chicken liver appetizer and Tuscan “Carnaroli Risotto” with Provola cheese and beetroot. The local Loin of Lamb with a crust of mint and agave syrup on a bed of grilled zucchini was delightful! The à la carte menu has meat and seafood items.
But in Montepulciano you should not skip a chance to enjoy traditional pici, handmade with duck (Nana) ragout and Pecorino sheep cheese Gran Riserva
(€ 9,50). Pair that with one of their Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riservas. Yum!

Le Logge del Vignola Restaurant
Via dell'Erbe, 6, Montepulciano
Tel. +39 0578 717290

Enoteca – a Locanda di San Francesco ***
This Wine Bar and Bistro is the place for those looking to expand their knowledge of local wines as well as fine wines from all over Italy and France. The location is one of the best in Montepulciano, overlooking Piazza San Francesco through two magnificent wooden doors and a large roof terrace, which allows you to enjoy sunny Tuscan mornings and unforgettable sunsets over the Val d'Orcia.

You can enjoy your vino with local cheese, salumi and simple menu items. This place is much more about the wine and the view than the food.

Piazza San Francesco, 5, 53045 Montepulciano
Tel. 39 0578 758725

Ristorante La Corte Medicea ****
Located in an old barn, this winery, gift shop and restaurant is a wine lover’s dream come true. The Ercolani family has been making their wine since 1988, and runs the business with a passion reflected in their food and wines.

If the weather cooperates, dine on the patio and take in the view! The indoor restaurant overlooks the active wine cellars and massive oak barrels filled with
Vino Nobile wines.

The menu is old-world Tuscan, with meats, pecorino, pastas, venison, polenta, truffles and Florentine steak as front-runners. We tried the homemade pici with choice of ragu (Pork, Beef, Rabbit, Venison and Wild Boar). We thought the options were ingenious! I fell for the Wild Boar – Pici o Pinci al Ragu di Maiale.
Molto delizioso!

Make sure to visit the wine shop after you finish your meal!

Le Cantine Medicee
Viale 1° Maggio, 2/4
53045 Montepulciano
Tel. 0578 756042

Arts & Education:

Montepulciano’s Museo Civico ***** A must stop!
Located in the center of town on Via Ricci since the 1950s, this museum should not be judged by its entrance. It is a series of adjoined buildings made into one multi-level, modern building. The exhibits include a wonderful collection of Etruscan items, religious works and terra cotta. The most intriguing item on display is a verified true Caravaggio painting titled “A portrait of a gentlemen” that is displayed on the 4th floor. This painting was part of a priest’s collection and thought to be a portrait of Pope Borghese.

Via Ricci, 10 | Palazzo Neri Orselli, 53045 Montepulciano
Tel.: +39 0578 717300

Montepulciano’s American Culinary Partnership
Montepulciano's Antica Fortezza plays an ever more central role in initiatives and interests connected to the world of the Vino Nobile. The historic fortress overlooks the city from where you can admire the views of the Valdichiana and the Val d'Orcia, and up to Lake Trasimeno. It was vital in helping protect the city centuries ago.

A unique partnership has been formed with Kennesaw State University, located in Kennesaw, GA, where they have agreed to invest in the restoration of the Fortezza and create a new kitchen-classroom where students may study both Vino Nobile and Montepulciano cuisine. When completed the building will also be the new headquarters for the Consorzio del Vino Nobile.

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