This variety is not taken all that seriously in Italy, but it is set for a superstar role in Australia.
Montepulciano is a red wine grape variety originating in Italy and now being used by a small number of winemakers in Australia. After Sangiovese it is the second most planted variety in Italy.
A widespread and old grape variety often has many synonyms. All of the following are listed in Wikipedia: Cordicso, Cordiscio, Cordisco, Cordisio, Monte Pulciano, Montepulciano Cordesco, Montepulciano di Torre de Passeri, Montepulciano Primatico, Morellone, Premutico, Primaticcio, Primutico, Sangiovese Cardisco, Sangiovese Cordisco, Sangiovetto, Torre dei Passeri, Uva Abruzzese and Uva Abruzzi.
First, let's clear up some confusion about the name.
Montepulciano is the name of both a grape variety and a town in Tuscany. This can cause problems as the wine and the town are not connected.
There is a red wine called Vino Nobile di Montepulciano which is in fact made from the Sangiovese grape variety around the town of Montepulciano in Tuscany.
The grape variety Montepulciano is planted over much of Central and Southern Italy. This variety ripens late in the season and is thus unsuitable for the cooler northern regions of Italy.
Montepulciano the grape variety has its most noteworthy expression is in the wine Montepulciano d'Abruzzi from the mountainous region of Abruzzi on the Adriatic coast of Central Italy. Elsewhere in Central and Southern Italy it is often found in blends but there are many varietal wines as well.
Until a decade ago there were virtually no plantings of Montepulciano in Australia. Sangiovese, Nebbiolo and Barbera were the Italian red wine varieties attracting the most attention from growers and winemakers.
It is quickly emerging as a very suitable variety for warmer Australian areas and is gaining recognition at regional and specialist wine shows.
Italian wines made with this variety are often light to medium bodied and are suitable for the Italian standby foods of pizza and pasta, especially with tomato based sauces.
A few Italian wines and many Australian wines are more substantial with firmer tannins. These are more enjoyable paired with heartier meat dishes, game sausages and the like.
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