Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano DOCG
Montepulciano has its own variety of sangiovese, prugnolo gentile, which is used to make Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG and Vino Rosso di Montepulciano DOC. A word of caution, do not confuse the red montepulciano grape (grown widely in central Italy) with the town of Montepulciano in Tuscany (famous for sangiovese based wines). If you come across a wine called Montepulciano d’Abruzzo or see montepulciano listed in the grape blend then the wine is made with the grape and doesn’t come from the town.
The rules for Vino Nobile di Montepulciano stipulate that sangiovese should be at least 70% of the blend with a maximum of 30% complementary grapes such as canaiolo nero and merlot (the latter is a recent addition to the rules). is aged for 2 years (minimum 1 year in oak), 3 years for a Riserva (with, I assume, 2 years in oak).
There are 1300 hectares of vineyard producing Montepulciano wines, they are planted between 200 and 600 metres and this variation in elevation, along with diverse soil types ranging from sandy to clay / sand and stone, means that different styles of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano are available. In addition there are traditionalist producers who blend sangiovese with local varieties and age in large oak barrels (botte) and modernists who blend with merlot and use barriques. Traditional wines tend to have aromas of dried violets, wild cherry and pepper, they are soft and full of flavour. Modern style wines are still soft but have more structure.
Rosso di Montepulciano DOC has the same grape blend but is aged for a shorter time. They tend to cost less than the DOCG and have aromas of fresh violets and cherries, they less structured than the Vino Nobile and accompany lighter dishes.