Daniele Cernilli, aka Doctor Wine, has hosted a number of zoom webinars from Italy on Italian wine. I attended most of them at IL Gattopardo restaurant in NYC. The latest one was on Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, a wine that does not get the attention it deserves.
Many years ago, a wine writer said that the problem with Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is that it is “caught in the shadow between Chianti and Brunello.” This is a marketing problem because Vino Nobile was the first DOCG to appear on the Italian market and is a renowned red wine that stands on its own.
There is also some confusion because of the name. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine is made from the Montepulciano grape variety in Abruzzo. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano can only be made from grapes grown around the town of Montepulciano in the province of Siena in Southeast Tuscany in the hills around the Chiana Valley. The soil here is sandy and rich in clay with many rocks and the climate is temperate.
Vino Nobile is made mostly from the Sangiovese grape variety known locally as Prugnolo Gentile (at least 70%) and other approved red varieties. Many producers are now making it from 100% Prugnolo Gentile. Vino Noble is aged for a minimum of two years, including one in oak barrels or casks and three years total in order to be called a Riserva.
At the Zoom webinar there were 9 wines in total. Listed below are 4 wines from the 2018 vintage which one of the producers said was a classic vintage, with the right amount of rain in the spring and summer. The wines are balanced and elegant.
In another blog, I will discuss wines from the 2016 and 2017 vintage, Pugnolo Gentile, and older vintages.
Salchetto “Nobile” 2018 made from 100% Prugnolo Gentile on 15 ha. Each plant makes one bottle. Manual harvest, sulfite free vinification with native yeasts takes place. The wine ages for 18 months, 70% in bottle and 30% in tonneau. Then 6 months in bottle before release. The winery is organic certified. The wine will age for at least 10 years. This is a full bodied wine that has hints of cedar, tea, nuts, red forest fruit with balsamic nuances and a touch of violets. Salchetto is one of 6 producers that joined together to make a Vino Noble di Montepulcino with the word Nobile in big letters which most be made from 100% Prugnolo Gentile. The winery is organic.
Le Bèrne 2018 made from 100% Prugnolo Gentile at 350 meters. The training system is double guyot and balanced bilateral cordon..Harvest takes place the second week of October. Alcoholic fermentation with indigenous yeast, long maceration on the skins and frequent punching down and pumping over. The wine is aged for 24 months in 25 HL oak battles (60%) and 40% in small French oak barrels. After a minimum of 6 months in bottle the wine is released. The wine has fruity notes, with hints of cherry, blackberries, spice and a touch of vanilla.
Gracciano Della Seta 2018 made from 90% Prugnolo Gentile and 10% Merlot. The vines grow in clay and silty soil on the hills of Gracciano at 300/350meters. Fermentation and maceration on the skins in stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature with local yeasts for about 20 to 25 days. Aging is for 24 months, the first 12 months in French oak tonneau, and the remaining months is Slavonian oak casks. Then aged for at last another 6 months in bottle before release. The wine has hints of violets, cherry, ripe plum with a touch of spice and a note of leather. After racking, the wine is transferred into big oak barrels where malolactic fermentation takes place. The wine is then aged for 18 months. The wine has hints of dark cherry, plums and raspberry, violet notes and a touch of spice.
Tenuta del Cerro “Silìneo” 2018 made mainly from Prugnolo Gentile . Fermentation and maceration at a controlled temperature with daily pumping over. After racking, the wine is transferred into big oak barrels where malolactic fermentation is carried out. Then the wine is aged for 18 months. The wine has hints of little red berries, cherry, strawberries and a note of violets.