“Mon-tey-pool-chee-ah-no,” Yeah, Whatever She Said!

       Montepulciano red wine. Amongst unpopular American thought, Montepulciano is not one type of wine. There is Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and its little brother Rosso di Montepulciano, which are apart of the famous Western Italian wine-growing region, Tuscany. Then there are Montepulicano d’Abruzzo wines which are produced in the Abruzzo region on the Eastern side of Italy. Sangiovese grapes make up nearly 70% of the composition of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Rosso di Montepulciano wines, while in Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wines, Sangiovese is only around 15%. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (or surrounding regions such as Marche) wines contain around 85% or more of Montepulciano grapes (yes it’s a grape varietal too) and the rest Sangiovese grapes (the grape that makes up a high percentage of Chianti wine).
       ….So is there really a difference in these wines?
       Yes, there is. Let’s explore some of the subtle differences, other than location.
       Vino Nobile di Montepulciano gets its name from the nobility that it was once meant to serve. It must be aged for a minimum of two years, and must contain at least 70% Sangiovese grapes as previously mentioned. The aftermath of this combination is a rich, deep, red wine with complex flavor. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano also gives off notes of bright red fruit, and can accompany many meals with its exquisite composition. Red meats, red sauce, and any hearty dish would be pleasantly paired with this wine.
       Rosso di Montepulciano wine has less strict aging requirements than Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and is lighter bodied. This wine shares a similar taste profile as its older sibling, however, different price points.
       Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (or surrounding regions) is a medium-bodied wine with a dark fruit presence. Fruits like red plum, sour cherry, and boysenberry compose this varietal. You may also experience flavors of oregano and hints of tar inside this wine. Fairly tannic (dry) and acidic, Montepulciano pairs well with anything from pizza, beef brisket, aged cheddar cheese, and rich, roasted winter vegetables. It is best to pair this wine with food of fat substance, because of its robust herbal presence and its tobacco-like flavors.
       Crociani Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
2011 vintage would be my IMG_1782recommendation for a moderately priced, certified DOCG wine. It has a ruby red color with hints of orange, and a delicate yet intense bouquet with violet notes. It is dry, yet well-rounded, harmonious, and full of fruit with a lovely mouth-filling finish. 
Tradizione Imports, the wholesaler for this top notch Sangiovese blend rated it 90 points on its scale.
List Price: $24.99/750ml – Chili Liquor Sale Price: $19.99/750ml.
My recommendation for Montepulciano would be San Lorenzo Conero 2015. Below is Wine Spectator’s review of San Lorenzo Rosso Conero 2015.
       “A perfumed red, featuring dried rose and incense notes that waft through high-toned cherry, peach skin and sweet smoke flavors. Medium- to full-bodied, with taut tannins firming the finish. Best from 2020 through 2025.”
       This wine was ranked 88 points even before the “best from” dates. This wine is more hearty, earthy, and dryer than your average Montepulciano. This is most likely because it’s not cut with any other grape varietals and is 100% Montepulciano. The Marche region is home to this wine, which is located just North of Abruzzo. San Lorenzo can be consumed well into the future, but tastes best when it has a few years inside of the bottle to mature. List Price: $17.99/750ml. Chili Liquor Sale Price: $14.99/750ml.