Montepulciano is a red wine grape varietal, with it origins in central Italy - and most renowned for its primary role in the DOCG wine Montepulciano d'Abruzzo.
Montepulciano d'Abruzzo comes from the mountainous region of Abruzzi on the Adriatic coast of central Italy. In Italy Montepulciano is also known as Cordisco, Morellone, Primaticcio, and Uva Abruzzi. It is important not to confuse it with the Tuscan wine 'Vino Nobile di Montepulciano', which is made from Sangiovese. Named after the village it is produced, rather than containing any Montepulciano in the blend. Montepulciano is widely planted throughout central and southern Italy, most notably in Abruzzo, Campania, Lazio, Marche, Molise and Puglia - and is permitted in DOP wines produced in 20 of Italy's 107 provinces.

 

Montepulciano is rarely found in northern parts of Italy because the grape has a tendency to ripen late and can be excessively 'green' if harvested early or not ripe.
Montepulciano likely originated in Tuscany and may be related to Sangiovese of which the two grapes are often confused with. After Sangiovese, Montepulciano is Italy's second most widely planted indigenous red grape varietal.
The skins have a fair amount of pigmented tannins and colour producing phenols that with maceration can produce a deep ruby coloured wine. Compared to most Italian red varietals, Montepulciano produces smooth, approachable wines that can develop for three or four years after vintage.
Montepulciano wines are typically fruit driven and dry with soft tannins, and so are often enjoyed young. Over time, the wine turns to garnet red during its maturation. With a fairly intense nose of strawberry, ripe plums and berry fruits, combined with leather and subtle red flowers, these smooth drinking wines often have a hint of pepper and spice, making them the perfect complement to the region's rustic cuisine.
If chosen to be aged by the winery for more than two years, the wine will be labelled 'Riserva' - and can pair them with hearty Italian cuisine or with aged hard cheeses - enjoy.