Sangiovese is a grape that is widely planted throughout Italy and perhaps made famous by two Tuscan DOCGs, Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino. However, there is a third expression of Sangiovese, the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano that should not be missed.
The Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG covers only 820 hectares – compared to 12,000ha for Brunello di Montalcino and 7,000ha for Chianti Classico. Located an hour’s drive east of Montalcino, the hilltop town of Montepulciano and its surrounding vineyards lie at between 250m and 600m altitude.
Here Sangiovese is known as Prugnolo Gentile and the wines must have for at least 70% of the blend along with a maximum 20% Canaiolo and a maximum 20% from other permitted varieties. The latter include the highly regarded local variety, Mammolo, prized for its plummy perfume, yet increasingly producers are keeping to 100% Prugnolo.
The wine must be aged for 2 years from 1st January after the harvest, either entirely in oak, or 18 months in oak and 6 months in bottle, or 12 months in oak, 6 months in bottle and 6 months in other storage.
Riserva wines must have a minimum alcohol content of 13% and must be aged for 3 years.
Nobile di Montepulciano is a wine for meats, like steak, pork, veal and game. It has the soft red fruits like cherry and strawberry with soft tannins due to the aging process. It will also pair well with strong cheeses and cured meats.
Director of Wine Education at CIBO
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