Montepulciano Wine 101: Profiles, Characteristics & Serving Tips

Montepulciano wine is a well-renowned and sought-after wine from the Abruzzo region in Italy. Since you are here, we get that you want to learn more about what is Montepulciano wine. Don’t worry! We will tell you all the wine details you need to know.

What is Montepulciano Wine?

Origin Italy
Commonly made with Montepulciano Grapes and Sangiovese
Color Red
Taste High Acidity and Fruity
Texture Medium-Bodied and Dry
Sugar Content (per liter) 3g to 10g
ABV 12% to 14% ABV
Biggest Producers Italy, Australia, United States


Montepulciano wine is a dark red wine with origins in the Abruzzo region. It’s known due to its bold taste, high acidity, and fruity notes.

This medium-bodied wine is heralded as one of the best-quality wines in Italy. It’s regulated by the Denomination of Controlled Origin (DOC) standards to ensure the excellent quality of every bottle.

In 1980, the wine was the first to receive the Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin (DOCG) title. It’s the highest status ab Italian wine can have.

Although the grape wine variety is present throughout the Abruzzo region, it has a broader plantation throughout Southern Italy. The milder temperature in the area makes it an excellent land for cultivating the wine grapes.

What is the Difference between Montepulciano Wine and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano?

Although similar in name and appearance, there is a clear distinction between Montepulciano Wine and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The latter does not have any Montepulciano grapes in the ingredients.

Instead, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano uses Sangiovese, a relative of the Montepulciano wine grapes. It’s also primarily produced in Tuscany and not in the Abruzzo region.

How is Montepulciano Wine Made?


This bold Italian wine has Montepulciano as its primary wine grapes variety. However, it’s not uncommon for breweries to incorporate a bit of Sangiovese in the blend. The Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC, for example, needs to have 85% of Montepulciano and 15% Sangiovese approved by the DOC standard.

Most of the time, Montepulciano wine grapes harvests are done when it’s already well-ripe. Wine grapes tend to have less flavor when used in an unripe state.

Then the Montepulciano wine grapes are pressed and put into oak wood kegs. Depending on the type of Montepulciano wine, it can be stored and fermented from three months to two years.

History of Montepulciano Wine

Like most wines from Italy, the cultivation of Montepulciano wine has been present throughout ancient times. However, the first accounts of such wines are during the Roman Empire. They are brought into the Italian lands by the Etruscans.

Since then, the wine grape variety has been cultivated throughout Southern Italy. The wine continued being improved upon until it received the Denomination of Controlled Origin title in 1966.

In 1980, the Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin (DOCG) was added to the wine’s list of titles. The wine is the first to receive the highest status an Italian wine can receive.

With that, it has become one of the most sought-after wines in the area.

Taste and Appearance of Montepulciano Wine


The Montepulciano wine’s dark red or ruby color is apparent within every glass. Its color seems to deepen as it ages.

When it comes to taste, the wine is soft with tannins and bitter flavors. Although a deep red wine, it’s not as bold as many Italian wines.

It’s a medium-bodied wine that has a reasonably smooth mouthfeel. Along with its softer tannins, the wine is still booming with striking high acidity, leading to a drier texture.

Although the wine has many notes of fruits such as plum and blackberry, it does not equal sweetness. Montepulciano wine is fruity but not sweet, with 3g to 10g of residual sugar per liter.

Along with the fruitiness, every bottle also features a nice earthy flavor—intense notes of oak, tobacco, and herbs.

Different Types of Montepulciano Wine


Although the Montepulciano wine grape can have many derivatives, these three types are the most common and major ones.

Popular wine countries such as Australia and the United States also delve into cultivating Montepulciano wine grapes. However, for a bottle to be a legitimate Montepulciano wine, it needs to undergo the supervision of DOC.

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC

This classification of DOC is the most prominent and sought-after variety of Montepulciano. The wine comprises 85% Montepulciano wine grapes and 15% Sangiovese.

The wine needs to ferment for five months before release. It must also have an alcohol content of at least 12% ABV.

Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo

Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo is a rose-like twist to the Montepulciano wine. It has a lighter shade than the DOC variation but is still bolder than the French or American rose. This wine also has sweeter flavors compared to the regular Montepulciano wine.


Riserva is a bolder variety of Montepulciano wine. For a bottle to have the title of Riserva wine, it must age for at least two years.

The blend should ferment in an oak barrel for six to nine months. It also has a higher alcohol content than the standard DOC variety.

How to Drink Montepulciano Wine


Now that we know the primary information about this delicious Italian wine, let’s get into how to drink it. These tips and tricks are the keys to enjoying your delightful glass of Montepulciano wine.

Right Type of Glass

Much like any wine, the correct type of glass will significantly help with the enjoyment of your wine. A broad wine glass is the best option for a red and medium-bodied wine such as Montepulciano.

The broader opening will help in the aeration of the wine. It can lead to a better aroma and more precise flavor.

Colder Serving

Most red wines are served on the hotter side. Most of them are served at room temperature to let their flavors out. However, this Italian wine goes the other way.

The Montepulciano is best enjoyed on the colder side. A coldness of 15.5°C to 18°C is the best serving temperature for the Montepulciano wine.

It limits the bitterness of the small number of tannins in the bottle. It leads to a less bitter and more flavorful wine.

It’s best to chill the bottle in the refrigerator for an hour and let it decant for another half. With every sip, you will have a much clearer taste of the wine flavors.

Try Decanting

Decanting or aeration can help with the intense flavors of this red Italian wine. Although Montepulciano tends to be lighter in tannins than other red wines, it’s still present.

Decanting is especially important for older vintages as they tend to be more aromatic. The robust scent can lead to overpowering the flavors present in the wine.

Try it With Meat

Red wines are perfect for meaty and saucy dishes, and Montepulciano is no different. With its striking acidity, it can cut through the fatty acids present in the meat. It’s also why Montepulciano can be an excellent pair to many fine-dining meals.

Montepulciano Wine You Should Try


Brand Marchesi de’ Cordano Tenuta Ulisse Emidio Pepe
Taste Earthy and Fruity Notes Earthy and Fruity Notes Very Fruity
Texture Dry and Bold Acidic and Dry Highly Carbonated
ABV 15% ABV 13.5% ABV 13.5% ABV
Best Serve with Meat Pasta and Meat Meat and Dessert
Average Price $39.99 $26.99 $75.00

1. Marchesi de’ Cordano Santinumi Riserva

This Riserva from Marchesi de’ Cordano is an excellent way to introduce the Montepulciano wine without breaking the bank. It has earthy and fruity notes and mild sweetness. It’s the perfect pair for many delicious types of meat, such as veal and pork.

This is the wine if you are looking for strong hints of vanilla and cherry. With a high amount of alcohol and acidity, it’s a perfect digestif or after-meal wine.

2. Tenuta Ulisse Amaranta Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

If you want to try the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, this bottle from Tenuta Ulisse is an excellent option. It’s inexpensive and comes from a legitimate brewery in the Abruzzo region.

It has a nice kick of acidity and a dry texture. The wine also has a very earthy flavor with notes of vanilla and chocolate finish. Along with the earthy notes, it has a very fruity blueberry flavor.

This Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine is perfect for very flavorful and pungent dishes. It has a nice twist of acidity and refreshing flavors.

3. Emidio Pepe Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Rosé

If you want to try the famous Montepulciano Rose, this one from Emelio Pepe is an absolute favorite among many. It has a nice fruity flavor and a highly carbonated texture.

This one is for you if you are looking for some after a meal or digestif wine. It has nice acidity and intense flavors of raspberry and cherry. With a good amount of sugar, it’s a delicious dessert wine.

In Summary

What is Montepulciano wine? It’s a question you might be wondering. Fortunately, this article is here to answer all of that and more. With this comprehensive background and explanation of the process, you can ensure a better understanding of Montepulciano wine.

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