Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is one of the quintessential wines of Italy, enjoyed throughout the country and the world, and made in several styles. Just don’t confuse it with Vino Nobile di Montepulciano! That’s a completely different wine made of Sangiovese grapes from the town of Montepulciano in Tuscany.
The beautiful region of Abruzzo is flanked by the turquoise Adriatic Sea and the foothills of the Apennine Mountains. This area’s green and rugged interior is an established spot for cultivating Montepulciano, a native Italian grape and the second most-planted grape in the country.
Prolific production in the past meant that these wines were often used in bulk, acting as a blending partner for other wines within Italy and even other countries, like Germany. This practice has been tempered in recent years, and now winemakers look to keep yields smaller as they focus on coaxing the best out of the grapes.
There are two primary styles for this wine. One is an easy-drinking, youthful, and fresh style. These wines have spent most of their time in steel tanks, which keeps the bold plum, blackberry, and herb flavors (like thyme) up front. The other is a richer, oaked style, where you can expect more spicy, chocolatey, smokey notes in the glass.
While you can definitely pair this wine and either of its scrumptious styles with savory grilled meat dishes or pasta with ragu, try it with pizza to feast like a local.