Vino Nobile di Montepulciano – Another Great Sangiovese Wine from Tuscany

Some of the great wines in Italy, and the world, hail from Tuscany. Other articles have discussed Super Tuscans , and some of the great wines based on the Sangiovese grape including Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino . In this article, another great Sangiovese based wine is explored: Vin Nobile di Montepulciano. The name of this wine can be confusing. Long ago these wines became the chosen wine of nobility hence the Nobile part of the name.

Best Super Tuscan “Value” Wines

Super Tuscan wines can be expensive and, let's face it, with the Euro kicking the Dollar's butt, finding a Super Tuscan that doesn't break the bank can be a challenge. asked our panel of wine experts to recommend the best Super Tuscan "Value" wines: A Sangiovese-less Super Tuscan!?!? Specifically I suggest the 2003 Rocca di Montegrossi "Geremia". I know, I know. There’s no Sangiovese in this Super Tuscan! It’s 60/40 Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, respectively. And truly, it is a brutish wine, filled with tannin and body and yet there is a substantial amount of finesse. The 2003 vintage was a beauty for Northern Italy, unlike 2002.

Italy's Super Tuscan Wines: History & Recommendations

Last month I wrote about the “Super Marches” wines from Le Marche. I realize that I have yet to discuss the granddaddy of all the “Super” wines; Super Tuscans. Tuscany has a long history of making great indigenous wines. See previous articles on Chianti , Brunello and Vin Santo . It is also home to some of the best internationally styled wines which are known collectively as Super Tuscans. So just what is a Super Tuscan? There really are no hard and fast rules. First and foremost, the term generally refers to red wines from Tuscany that do not conform to any DOC(G) regulations. They are released as IGT wines or even Vino de Tavola (VdT) or table wine. Beyond that, it is a term more of marketing than art or science.

Brunello: An Italian Wine Scandal Ferments in Montalcino

In a previous article, we examined Brunello’s 100 plus year history . In Italian wine expressions, that is a relatively short period. Nevertheless, Brunello has established itself as one of the premium wines, not only in Tuscany, but also in the entire world. Brunello di Montalcino has an even more brief history in Italy’s wine regulations. Brunello did not become a DOC until 1966 and has only been a DOCG since 1986. Brunello’s DOCG regulations require that 100% Sangiovese grapes be used. The wines are then aged for a minimum of 4 years (5 years for the Riserva). Traditionally, Brunello required a minimum of three years ageing in wood barrels. That has now been relaxed to two years ageing in wood. In addition, four months must be in bottle (six for the Riservas). The finished wine cannot be released for sale until January 1st of the year five years from vintage year. For example, the 2003 Brunello’s could not be released until January of 2008. Geographically, there is a strictly identified zone surrounding the town of Montalcino, in which the Sangiovese grapes used to make Brunello must be grown and the wines must be bottled. So what type of experience should a good Brunello provide? This simple question is controversial at the moment. Traditionally, Brunello, like other Sangiovese wines, is a pale ruby color. The wine is transparent in the glass with lovely perfumed aromas of cherries and floral notes. It has a powerful elegance about it.

Great Italian Wines: Brunello di Montalcino from Tuscany

There really is little question as to what the two most famous and prestigious wines from Italy are: Barolo and Brunello di Montalcino. That is not to say they are the best wines, but that they have a history of being some of the best wines exported from Italy. The next series of articles will examine Brunellos (for a review on Barolo see the previously posted three part series on this site ). Brunello di Montalcino is a wine made from grapes grown in vineyards surrounding the hilltop town of Montalcino (about 5 miles south of Sienna) in Tuscany.