Great Value Wines: 11 Vino Nobile di Montepulcianos Under $30
Suppose you were asked to pick a few classic but affordable red wines from Tuscany. Little chance you would choose a Chianti Classico or Brunello di Montalcino because the best of these wines are costly now. You might include a few overachievers from Rosso di Montalcino, Morellino di Scansano or even just Chianti. But only a scant few would pick a Vino Nobile di Montepulciano – one of the smallest DOCGs in Tuscany, with only 1,300 hectares of vines and arguably a lukewarm afterthought for Tuscan wines.
After years of struggling as the more rustic sibling of the better-recognized Chianti Classico and the well-respected Brunello, we find there has been a minor renaissance of quality around the quiet and small town of Montepulciano, some 100 kilometers from the vineyards of Chianti in the north and a 40-minute drive from Montalcino in the west.
Not so different from Barolo, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano has a glorious history to recount. In his 1865 poem “Bacchus in Tuscany,” the Italian physician and poet Francesco Redi praised the local Montepulciano pour as “the King of Wines,” and so the term Vino Nobile (“noble wine’) became the appellation, suggesting an aristocratic, superior quality. Despite a downturn of quality in the 1970s, when regulations were loose and wines were rather dilute and rustic, in 1980 Vino Nobile became one of the first four appellations bestowed with the superior status of DOCG, along with Barolo, Brunello di Montalcino and Barbaresco.
“Aromas of plums, dark cherries, dried herbs and minerals. Medium-to full-bodied with fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity. Round and creamy with juicy character and plenty of fruit on the palate. Long, flavorful and vibrant finish. Drink from 2023.”
“A perfumed nose of plum, raspberry, earth and baking spices. Medium-to full-bodied with firm, chewy tannins and fresh acidity. Creamy, with a chalky texture. Savory finish with excellent length. Drink or hold.”
“Aromas of dark cherries, blueberries, stones and fresh flowers. It’s medium-to full-bodied with sleek tannins and bright acidity. Structured and textured with juicy character on the mid-palate. Drink now or hold.”
“Raspberries, redcurrants, raw mushrooms and fresh herbs on the nose. Medium-bodied with firm, fine tannins and bright acidity. Silky yet rather firm texture and a flavorful finish. Drinkable now, but best from 2022.”
“A pretty nose of ripe raspberries, wild strawberries, stones and cigar box. Medium-bodied with fine tannins and bright acidity. Juicy and fruity with a chalky texture. Drink now.”
By James Suckling | JamesSuckling.com
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