Montepulciano (grape)

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Montepulciano growing in Abruzzi.

Montepulciano is a red Italian wine grape variety that is most noted for being the primary grape behind the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) wine Offida Rosso, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Colline Teramane (as well its larger DOC outside of Colline Teramane), Rosso Conero and the Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) wines Rosso Piceno Superiore.

It should not be confused with the similarly named Tuscan wine Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which is made from predominantly Sangiovese and is named for the village it is produced in, rather than for containing any Montepulciano grapes in the blend.

The grape is widely planted throughout central and southern Italy, most notably in Abruzzo, Latium, Marche, Molise, Umbria and Apulia, and is a permitted variety in DOC wines produced in 20 of Italy's 95 provinces. Montepulciano is rarely found in northern Italy because the grape has a tendency to ripen late and can be excessively "green" if harvested too early.

When fully ripened, Montepulciano can produce deeply colored wines, with moderate acidity and noticeable extract and alcohol levels.[1]

Origins and confusion with other Montepulciano wines[edit]

The spread of the Montepulciano grape throughout Italy.

According to wine expert Jancis Robinson, the Montepulciano grape likely originated in Tuscany and may be related to the Sangiovese, with which it is often confused. Despite this possible origin, the Montepulciano grape still does not seem to have any tangible connection to the village of that name or to the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, beyond what Robinson describes as "linguistics".[2][3] Furthermore, despite being widely planted throughout central Italy, the Montepulciano grape is not even grown in the vineyards around the village of Montepulciano.[4][5]

Wine regions[edit]

After Sangiovese, Montepulciano is Italy's second most widely dispersed indigenous grape variety. It is a recommend planting in 20 of Italy's 95 provinces and is a permitted or required grape in the red wines of DOCs in Apulia, Molise, Latium, Umbria, Marche, Emilia-Romagna, Abruzzi and Tuscany. Among the DOCs that are most noted for Montepulciano are Montepulciano d'Abruzzo in Abruzzi, Offida Rosso DOCG, Rosso Conero and Rosso Piceno in Marche. Though it is a secondary variety to Uva di Troia in the Castel Del Monte DOC, according to wine expert Jancis Robinson the character that Montepulciano contributes to the blend as perhaps "its finest incarnation".[2]

DOCs and DOCGs[edit]

A Montepulciano d'Abruzzo wine made from the Montepulciano grape in the Abruzzo region.

The following is a list of DOCs and DOCGs that include Montepulciano as a permitted grape variety, along with other grapes that may be included in the blend under varying percentages that are regulated under the DOC/G label. The wines of which Montepulciano must account for a majority of the blend are in bold.[6]

Viticulture and wines[edit]

Montepulciano D'Abruzzo wine.

Montepulciano ripens late and has a tendency to favor producing large yields. The grapes can be plump with a low skin to juice ratio. However, the skin has a fair amount of pigmented tannins and color producing phenols that with maceration can produce either a deep ruby colored wine or a pink Cerasuolo wine.[2] Compared to most Italian varieties, Montepulciano has moderately low acidity and more mild (i.e. softer) than bitter edged tannins.[3] Wine expert Oz Clarke describes Montepulciano as producing a "round, plummy and weighty red with ripe tannins, good acidity and a low price tag."[7] Jancis Robinson evaluates Montepulciano as a "promising variety" that produces smooth, drinkable wines that can improve for three or four years after vintage.[2]

Synonyms[edit]

Various synonyms have been used to describe Montepulciano and its wines, including Cordicso, Cordiscio, Cordisco, Cordisio, Monte Pulciano, Montepulciano Cordesco, Montepulciano di Torre de Passeri, Montepulciano Primatico, Morellone, Premutico, Primaticcio, Primutico, Sangiovese Cardisco, Sangiovese Cordisco, Sangiovetto, Torre dei Passeri, Uva Abruzzese and Uva Abruzzi.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ J. Robinson Jancis Robinson's Guide to Wine Grapes p. 112 Oxford University Press 1996 ISBN 0-19-860098-4
  2. ^ a b c d J. Robinson Vines, Grapes & Wines p. 212 Mitchell Beazley 1986 ISBN 1-85732-999-6
  3. ^ a b "Montepulciano d’Abruzzo: A Wonderful Red Wine from the Region of Abruzzo". 
  4. ^ J. Robinson (ed) "The Oxford Companion to Wine" Third Edition p. 450 Oxford University Press 2006 ISBN 0-19-860990-6
  5. ^ http://lacucinaitalianamagazine.com/article/montepulciano-the-real-deal
  6. ^ P. Saunders Wine Label Language pp. 119–215 Firefly Books 2004 ISBN 1-55297-720-X
  7. ^ Oz Clarke Encyclopedia of Grapes p. 139 Harcourt Books 2001 ISBN 0-15-100714-4
  8. ^ http://www.vivc.de/datasheet/dataResult.php?data=7949