Montepulciano is both a grape variety, and a wine from a specific area. It is hugely popular in the UK, with its soft, rich, full-flavoured, yet easy-drinking style, and is a staple on almost on the wine list of almost every Italian restaurant in the country.
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a red wine, which comes from the scenic and rugged region of Abruzzo, which is situated in central Italy, on the eastern coast, on the other side of the mountains from Rome, which lies near the western central coast. Montepulciano is actually the Sangiovese grape, but known as Montepulciano in this region.
It has become a great staple for Italian wine drinkers, as a largely reliable, easy drinking wine, affordable, and approachable.
The Abruzzo is a wild and rugged region, lying on the east coast of Italy, whose wine history dates back to the Romans. Vines have been grown here for centuries, with first records being found as far back as the Etruscans, who brought the wine making culture to the region.
The region’s winemaking opportunities were not developed for a long time, and Abruzzo was for a lengthy time, the poor relation of other regions. When the focus on winemaking returned, initially, it was all about volume, bulk, and inevitably, low quality. However, in the last 15 years, there has been a considerable change of pace and focus, with Abruzzo producers starting to believe in their own value, and building the quality image of their region.
The area benefits from a climate, well suited to grape production. It’s a very hilly, rugged area, with the Appenine mountains on the western side, yet a long, coastal region on the east, with the warm breezes from the Adriatic. The majority of the vines are grown in the lower hills, closer to the hills,although there are some top quality, small volume producing estates, high up in the hills.
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo was given its DOC in 1968, and covers an area 120km long along the central and coastal area of Abruzzo, between the Le marche region to the north, and Molise to the south. The best wines are found from the area in the centre of the region, where the Pescara river winds up to the mountains. Beyond that the land is too mountainous for quality grape production.
All Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is made entirely from the Montepulciano grape, closely linked to the Sangiovese grape. These wines are often confused with vino nobile di Montepulciano, which is an area designated by the town on Montepulciano, not the grape.
What Does It Taste Like?
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo has to be one of the friendliest red wines out there! In the Abruzzo region, it produces a ripe, intensely fruity style of wine, with soft tannins and big, bold flavours of mulberries, morello cherries and blackberries.
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo produces a huge amount of wine, at different quality levels, and as well as the soft, approachable styles, seen in all supermarkets and restaurants around the country.
Despite the volume production, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo also produces some absolute top quality stars, mainly from estates on the hills, which focus on small production, heritage, and the delivery of wines, which are not dissimilar in style to Tuscan wines, but bigger, more rugged, and with an incredible edge to them.
Matching Montepulciano & Food
Montepulciano is an incredibly food friendly wine, with its juicy, forest fruit character, and soft tannins.
The darling of the wine list in many of the pizza chains around the country, Montepulciano goes far further than that! Firstly , it’s equally great with meat and tomato based pasta dishes, but at its peak, and from top estates it’s a superb wine to serve with game, venison, aged beef, and rich red meat stews… also great with a slab of aged parmesan or local cheese.