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    Vino Nobile di Montepulciano: a true Itaian excellence

    Monday, 06 May 2024 Francesca Negri, Monday, 06 May 2024 (0 minutes read)

    Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is one of Italy's oldest and most prestigious wines, but also one of the most confused. In fact, it is often confused with Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, an Abruzzo wine made from the vine of the same name, as opposed to the Tuscan Vino Nobile, which is made from an ancient clonal selection of the Sangiovese vine known as Prugnolo Gentile, a Tuscan wine produced in the municipality of Montepulciano in the province of Siena.

    It is a wine whose origins date back to the Etruscan period and which, over time, has become the favourite of the nobility - hence its name - not only in Italy. King William of England, for example, was so crazy about it that in 1669 he sent a delegation to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany to procure Vino Nobile di Montepulciano for his court.

    Today, this jewel in the crown of Made in Italy red wines is represented by the Consorzio del Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, founded in 1965 with the aim of protecting and promoting the image of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano in Italy and throughout the world. The Consorzio currently has 230 member wineries, representing more than 90%, or almost all, of the vineyard area.

    Vino Nobile di Montepulciano between reality and legend

    An ancient legend has it that Montepulciano was founded by the Etruscan king Lars Porsenna, who moved from Chiusi to the ancient hill of Mons Mercurius, whose name was later changed to Mont Politicus. And it was here that a kylix, the first wine cup in history, was found in 1868. With red figures of Chiusi production, this primordial goblet bears the representation of Flufluns, the Etruscan Bacchus, god of wine, playing together with a maenad at cottabo, a game in which wine was the protagonist. The oldest document referable to Montepulciano wine dates back to 789 and reports of the cleric Arnipert, who offered the church of San Silvestro or San Salvatore in Lanciniano on Mount Amiata, a piece of land cultivated as a vineyard in the castle of Policiano.

    Rosso e Nobile di Montepulciano, what are the differences?

    La Doc (denominazione di origine controllata) del Nobile di Montepulciano risale al 1966, mentre il riconoscimento della Docg (denominazione di origine controllata e garantita) arriva nel 1980, segnando una nuova vita per questo vino. Sempre nel 1980 è stata istituita anche la Doc Rosso di Montepulciano, che da allora si affianca alla Docg del Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, distinguendosi da essa unicamente per quanto riguarda resa per ettaro, gradazione alcolica e invecchiamento, mentre l'area di produzione è la stessa. Sono i produttori che decidono a quale denominazione indirizzare i propri vini, in considerazione dell'esposizione dei terreni, del decorso climatico della stagione e di tutti gli altri elementi che possono rendere più adatto l'impiego delle uve per la produzione dell'una o dell'altra tipologia.

    The Wine Palace

    Among the various initiatives carried out by the Consorzio del Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is the Enoteca consortile located in Piazza Grande in Montepulciano, behind the magnificent Pozzo dei Grifi e dei Leoni (restored thanks to a joint intervention by the cellars and the municipality), in the evocative underground rooms of the Palazzo del Capitano. In the same historic building are the Consortium's offices; the complex also houses the Agro-food Analysis Laboratory and the Information Centre of the Strada del Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, structures of which the organisation is a member. This is why it is referred to as the 'Palazzo del Vino', overlooking the same space to which the Palazzo Comunale and the Cathedral belong. In such an evocative place as the Enoteca, it is possible not only to admire the bottles on display but also to get to know and taste all the wines of the Consortium's members.

    The characteristics of wine

    The main characteristic of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is its great elegance, a wine that always has the right balance, with beautiful ageing capabilities but that also gives great satisfaction when drunk young. Speaking of the most recent vintages, 2012 was considered a 5-star vintage by the Consorzio, the highest accolade, so these are wines of great value and ageing, which can be paired with Riserva cheeses or a sirloin steak with Cinta Senese lard. The 2013 was rated 4 stars, perfect served with a prosciutto crudo and a picio with mock duck sauce. Finally, the 2014 is a 3-star vintage, very pleasant to drink and goes wonderfully with a medium-aged Pecorino di Pienza or a pappardella with wild boar ragout. Finally, let's not forget the Reserves, such as the austere 2010, excellent with peposo. Ratings of vintages from 1945 to the present can be found on the Consorzio website, www.consorziovinonobile.it.

    As for the wines to keep on the list, the ideal is six: two basic Nobili, two intermediate and two superior.

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