Home > Italian wines, Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Tuscany, wine > Do You Prefer Montepulciano or Montepulciano?

Do You Prefer Montepulciano or Montepulciano?

December 22, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

Nope, no typo in that title. And no, I’m not losing it. Not yet anyway.

Yes, the title is purposefully misleading. But within a reason – and I’m not looking to gain any unjust benefit from the confusion.

As most of you know, Montepulciano happened to be the name of the indigenous Italian grape, popular in central regions of Abruzzo and Marche. Montepulciano is also the name of the small medieval town, right in the heart of Tuscany, where the grape called Sangiovese is a king. The wine produced around the town of Montepulciano, which dates back to the 14th century, is called Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and to be called Vino Nobile the wine should contain at least 70% of Sangiovese grapes. What is also worth mentioning that Vino Nobile di Montepulciano was the very first DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) in Italy, awarded in 1984 – the emphasis here is on Garantita, denoting highest quality Italian wines.

A picture worth thousand words, so here is an infographic which nicely lines up all the confusing Montepulciano:

Montepulciano Infographic Italy

Infographic courtesy of Mosiah Culver

Now, let’s go back to the main question, only let’s ask it in a less controversial way –  do you prefer Montepulciano or Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wine? The answer to such a question requires some wine drinking, so let’s fight it off with maybe some of the very best examples of both – Masciarelli Marina Cvetić Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

Masciarelli Tenute Agricole was established in 1978 by Gianni Masciarelli in San Martino, Chieti Abruzzo. In 1989, Giovanni married Marina Cvetic, who took over winemaking duties. Today Marina overseeing about 750 acres of estate vineyards, producing about 2.5 million bottles a year – of course, not only Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, but many different wines – you can find more information here.

The wine we are tasting today, Masciarelli Marina Cvetić Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva, is a flagship wine, which won numerous accolades from the critics around the world, and it is definitely a beautiful example of how good Montepulciano wine can be.

Avignonesi estate was founded in 1974, and the Avignonesi family was instrumental in helping the regions to obtain DOCG status and promote Vino Nobile wines worldwide. From 2009, the estate, which comprise today 495 acres of vineyards in Montepulciano and Cortona appellations and produces about 750,000 bottles per year, is owned by Virginie Saverys. She works tirelessly to convert the estate to organic and biodynamic winemaking, and Avignonesi is expecting to get its organic certification in 2016. You can learn more about the estate and its wines here.

The wine we are drinking today is Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which goes way beyond the requirements of the DOCG and made from 100% Sangiovese sourced from 8 best vineyards of the Avignonesi estate. If you will look at the suggested price ($29), in conjunction with the quality, this wine would easily beat many of its famous Brunello neighbors. Many critics also concur, as the wine repeatedly gets high scores and makes to the various “Top” lists.

Here are my notes for these two wines:

2011 Masciarelli Marina Cvetić Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva (14% ABV, $28, 100% Montepulciano, 12/18months in oak barriques, 100% new)
C: dark garnet
N: cherries, tar, roasted meat, undertones of sage
P: sweet cherries, perfume, open, layered, clean, good balance, very approachable and ready to drink from the get go
V: 8/8+, sexy, luscious and delicious

2013 Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG (14% ABV, $29, 100% Sangiovese, 12 months French barriques, 6 months large Slavonian oak casks, 6+ months in the bottle)
C: brilliant ruby
N: herbs, sage, hint of black fruit, restrained
P: sweet and tart cherries, earthy, leather, touch of cherry pits, touch of tannins, good balance. Very long finish with fruit dominating.
V: 8. surprisingly ready to drink (unlike some Vino Nobile which I had before). Classic Italian wine all around, with finesse.

As you can tell, I really liked both wines, probably hedging a bit more towards Montepulciano d’Abruzzo – these are very well made wines, different and excellent in its own right – and by the way, both would perfectly brighten up your holidays :).

What do you think? Which Montepulciano would you prefer, not only from these two wines but in general? Cheers!

  1. December 22, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    The comparison is not completely honest, as the Md’A has aged for 2 years more than the VNdM. In general Md’A is better value than VNdM, but I prefer a good sangiovese over a good montepulciano. Of course we can also go to le Marche, where the two grapes are blended. PS in Montepulciano the local clone of sangiovese is called prugnolo gentile.

    • talkavino
      December 22, 2016 at 5:22 pm

      First, both wines are just the examples for what the regions are capable of. I never said that one is better than another, merely stated personal preference towards the style of Marina Cvetić Montepulciano. Don’t think oak treatment has any relevance, as again, we are not comparing the same wines.
      As far as Sangiovese Grosso is concerned, clones are always a tough question and again, totally outside of the scope of this post. Is Cannonau different than Grenache? Is Toro a Tempranillo or not?

  2. December 22, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    Anatoli, I am just adore both types of wines, if I am having a more elaborate entree then I go with the Nobile. Some of the first wines that I discovered from Italy after Chianti.

    • talkavino
      December 27, 2016 at 8:33 pm

      I don’t drink Vino Nobile wines too often – but would be happy to open Avignonesi any day.

  3. December 22, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    I love Montepulciano whether d’Abruzzo or Vino Nobile. It is one of my all time favorites either and a wine I will always try to have on hand. Great post Anatoli as always full of information. Happy Holidays.

    • talkavino
      December 27, 2016 at 8:31 pm

      Thanks Suzanne! Happy Holidays!

  4. December 22, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    I enjoy both. Avignonesi is one of my favs!

    • talkavino
      December 22, 2016 at 5:39 pm

      Different wines, both delicious. I was surprised with how approachable Avignonesi was – my prior experience with VNdM was very different, required lots and lots of breathing time. Cheers!

  5. December 23, 2016 at 10:58 am

    I would argue that you have indeed lost it, but that has nothing to do with this post! 😉

    • talkavino
      December 23, 2016 at 11:10 am

      Whatever I lost, you will help me find it, right?

  6. January 23, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    I always thought Montepulcianob was a grape? No???

    • talkavino
      January 23, 2017 at 9:02 pm

      Montepulciano is both – grape and the place. This is exactly what I’m talking about here 🙂

  1. December 30, 2016 at 12:24 pm

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