Looking for a perfectly juicy red to pair with your pizza or to take to your neighborhood barbecue? Meet Montepulciano.
What Is Montepulciano?
It might sound like a mouthful, but this medium-bodied red is a total pleasure to drink. With its naturally high acidity and high tannin, it's sure to leave an impression. And it's one of the darkest reds you'll find, so it's definitely going to leave a mark.
Where's It Produced?
Montepulciano grapes hail from Italy, and several regions produce distinctive blends. The purest blends come from Abruzzo, where some blends boast as much as 90 percent Montepulciano. Blends from Marche, Puglia and Molise all have slightly lower percentages of the good stuff, but they're just as worthy of your attention. After all, some of the best reds are tried-and-true blends of regional grapes that complement each other perfectly.
This grape is the second most popular in Italy, but in total, there are almost 90,000 acres of Montepulciano around the globe. Try bottles from Argentina, New Zealand and California to see how they compare. Did someone say taste test?
What's It Taste Like?
The best Montepulcianos are so juicy they might just run down your chin when you take a sip. Most have bold, fruity flavors like plum, boysenberry and sour cherry. But it's never that simple, is it? Montepulcianos also tend to have herbal notes of oregano, followed by earthy, bitter hints of tar.
Why You'll Love Montepulciano:
Hold on. It gets a little more complicated. There are actually two main types of Montepulciano, and they have distinctive flavor profiles. Basically, some winemakers age their Montepulcianos, but others don't.
Neutral-aged Montepulcianos are lighter in color, and some even boast a rosé style. Looks can be deceiving, though. These bottles have tons of juicy fruit flavors with some floral notes and ample earthiness.
What about oak-aged Montepulcianos? These are much richer, and some even have prune, licorice or cocoa flavors. These bottles tend to be a bit pricier, but converts don't mind paying a little more for such intriguing flavors.
Great Food Pairings for Montepulciano:
Since both types of Montepulciano have such robust flavors, you're going to want to pair this wine with rich, savory dishes. Hearty hamburgers, beef brisket or even braised goat are awesome choices.
What about vegetarian dishes? Think hearty. Macaroni and cheese, stuffed baked potatoes, bean burgers and smoky collard greens are all great picks. And don't forget about pizza, either.