Know Your Variety - Montepulciano
Adam Walls cuts through the confusion about Montepulciano, the dark, brooding Italian Red wine that’s going great guns in Australia
Besides being tricky to pronounce, Montepulciano is one of the more complicated grapes. You see, there's an Italian town called Montepulciano, which produces a wine called Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. But, this wine is mostly made from Sangiovese, and doesn't actually include any of the Montepulciano grape!
A Quick Guide to Montepulciano
The most famous examples of Montepulciano (the actual wine) come from the Italian region of Abruzzo, but it's planted throughout much of central and southern Italy, but nowhere near the town of the same name.
Thankfully, as a grape grown in Australia, it's much more straightforward and in true Aussie style, we've taken away the pronunciation problem by shortening it to 'Monte'.
In its very short lifespan here in Australia, Monte is starting to win international acclaim. Last year, at the International Wine Competition in London, for the first time, Gold medals were given to Montes outside of Italy and they were won by two Australian wines - Bird in Hand and Mr Riggs.
As I mentioned, Montepulciano is most famously made under the DOC of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo . A producer called Aziendo Agricola Valentini produces Italy's most renowned expression - it's like the Penfolds Grange of Monte - having taken it from a quaffing red to a serious, thrilling wine.
Australian Montepulciano Regions
Monte has had success in our warmer and cooler climates, possibly because it's a relatively late ripening variety. Also, like Shiraz, it's hardy, disease-resistant and can handle the heat and the cold. Look out for examples from Adelaide Hills , Barossa Valley and Riverland .
Montepulciano Tasting Notes
Monte's appeal lies in its beautifully generous fruit, including red plum, sour cherry and boysenberry, and moderate acidity, so I reckon if you love Australian Shiraz , you'll love Monte, too.
The general fruit intensity and richness of Monte mean that it's a natural match to an array of rich and intensely flavoured dishes. Some of my favourites include Guy Grossi's pappardelle with spiced veal ragu recipe, braised beef shin and pepperoni pizza. Explore our great range of recipes here .