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Montepulciano is a red grape responsible for the full-flavored dry red wines of the Abruzzo region in central Italy. It’s becoming increasingly popular in Australia where it suits warm, dry climates, creating rich, powerful, mouth-filling wines.

What kind of wine is montepulciano?

Montepulciano is commonly cited as Italy’s second-most popular grape. It produces a dry, lean, medium-bodied red wine that is unsurprisingly perfect for enjoying with a big bowl of pasta. Australian winemakers are becoming more and more interested in this grape too, with monte exploding onto the scene in the last 15 years. The montepulciano grape is not to be confused with the Tuscan winemaking village of Montepulciano, which confusingly doesn’t use its namesake grape. Instead, a wine labelled Vino Nobile di Montepulciano will be made exclusively from the sangiovese variety.

What does montepulciano taste like?

Montepulciano is a dark, brooding, full-bodied and intense wine. It features grippy tannins, medium to high acidity and big fruit notes. Seasoned wine tasters will pick up hints of plum, boysenberry and sour cherry, while oregano and tar flavours can be found hidden amongst the fruit.

Is montepulciano sweet or dry?

Despite being fruity, montepulciano is classed as a dry red wine, as no residual sugar is added to it at any point of the production process. The plump, juicy montepulciano grape is naturally high in sugar, allowing the wine to generate serious sweetness via the range of dark fruit notes mentioned above. If you prefer the sweet to the savoury, monte may well be the dry red for you.

What wine is montepulciano similar to?

Montepulciano brings all the presence of an Italian mob boss to the table. This inevitably leads to comparisons with that most bold and intense of reds, shiraz. A montepulciano, be it Italian or Australian, will hold its own against a Rhone Valley syrah or Barossa shiraz, although it won’t be quite as full-bodied as its more famous cousin. The other full-bodied stalwart of Australian cellars, cabernet sauvignon, offers a similar experience to montepulciano, as do the bolder versions of sangiovese, Italy’s most popular wine.

What cheese goes with montepulciano?

What goes better with Italian wine than Italian cheese? Put down the Kraft Singles - a complex and classy wine deserves equally complex and classy cheddar. Montepulciano pairs best with semi-hard, medium-aged cheeses like provolone and piave. Talamello, a truffle-flavoured Marche cheese, will bring out the earthy characteristics of the wine, while the spicy notes of a marbled block will be softened by monte’s generous fruit flavours. As a general rule, the older the wine is, the older the paired cheese should be. If you’ve been cellaring a fancy monte for a special occasion, be sure to have something in your cheese cellar to match. If you don’t have a purpose-built cheese cellar on your property, perhaps ask your next door neighbour if you can use theirs. Or buy an aged block from the shop.