Montepulciano is a black Italian grape that originated in Tuscany, and continues to grow in Italy’s central region. It is believed to be related to Sangiovese, but has slightly darker black fruit flavors and characteristics. Montepulciano can be made in both an early drinking style or aged and developed. One of the most well-known expressions is Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, where up to 15% of Sangiovese can also blended in.
This grape produces wine with medium to high acidity, alcohol and tannin. Its flavor profile has pronounced red and black cherry, cranberry, plum, boysenberry, and blackberry. Montepulciano also has a noted spicy flavor of oregano, thyme and dried tobacco. Oak barrel-aged expressions present notes of chocolate, coffee, cloves and vanilla . Expressions matured in the bottle for years further develop flavors of earth and aged flowers, with notably softer tannins.
Due to its high levels of tannin, Montepulciano pairs with a array of rich and fatty meats that soften the tannic astringency. It is often paired with beef brisket, juicy burgers, lamb chops, beef bolognese, smoked BBQ, meatloaf, veal, pork and goat. It also compliments rich and flavorful entrees such as lasagna, meat pizza and saucy pastas. It is also enjoyed with hard cheeses like Pecorino, Romano, and Parmesan.
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