Vino Nobile di Montepulciano – tasting the Tuscany wine

“Three glasses of wine end a hundred quarrels.”

– Chinese proverb

There is one curiosity I’ve noticed since I began to write about wine and wine tasting (let’s remember – this is the third week of my, so-called successful, blogging), that is, people that are closest to me, my family and friends, seriously began gifting me serious bottles of wine. More interesting, they pay more attention when choosing a wine, which means either they want me to become a high budget alcoholic or to expand my sommelier views. Either way, I like this behavioral change that positively influences my knowledge when it comes to wine. Fam, keep up with the good work!

Now, when I’m done with my oh-so-funny jokes, let’s get to the point. Recently I got a bottle of wine from my cousin, and honestly, I had to do a little research before tasting it.
By doing a research I mean in the sense that I knew nothing about the varieties of the given wine or wine technology. Everything I knew was that it was from Tuscany, which at that particular moment only meant that it was from Italy.
That’s all. Since I don’t like writing or talking about something I don’t know, and I hate not knowing something that I’m curious about, it took a while for me and wine to get to know each other.

The wine is called Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, in this case the blend of varieties Sangiovese and Canaiolo. In combination other than this, this wine can oftenly be made by adding domestic Italian variety Colorino, or an international Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon to Sangiovese that is the base variety for this wine.

Long story short, what Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot mean for Bordeaux, that Sangiovese and Canaiolo mean for Tuscany. Sangiovese is a variety that is dominant in this wine, while Canaiolo is added to it, to soften the tannins of Sangiovese and add that missing fruity aroma.

What is interesting, specially related to Canaiolo, is that it is a variety that was mainly used in the process of wine making for Chianti wine because of its high stability when making wines with the governo technology that emerged in the 14th century. This variety was used until the end of the 19th century, when the phylloxera invasion destroyed a large number of vineyards with this variety. Because of its sensitivity and poorer compatibility with grafts, regeneration of larger areas under this variety is slow and it is never fully renewed.
However, in the 19th century Baron Bettino Ricasoli created a special recipe for Chianti, which includes mostly the Sangiovese, with the addition of Canaiolo, which softens the tannin with its aromaticity.

Later, wine expert, Hugh Johnson, noticed that the connection between the varieties Sangiovese and Canaiolo have certain similarities with the way Cabernet Sauvignon is softened by Merlot in the traditional blends of Bordeaux.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is a very interesting wine. It is a dry wine with high level of alcohol, strong tannin and refreshing acids, it has a specific taste and leaves an interesting feeling on the palate. Terroir is of extreme importance here, it is especially emphasized in aromas and scents.

Naturally, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is protected by a geographical indication – Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) and it originates from vineyards on the slopes of the small town called Montepulciano in Tuscany.

Wine card:

  • wine name: Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
  • varieties: Sangiovese and Canaiolo
  • country of origin: Italy, Tuscany region, geographical indication DOCG
  • year: 2015
  • alcohol: 13,5%vol

Color

When it comes to the color of this wine, considering that it is from 2015 and that it was in the smoked oak barrels, respecting the traditional procedure, a certain pale shade of embellished red color can be noticed, with a mild purple glare on the surface.

Smell

Fruity aromas of cherry and berries, with a strong smell of alcohol, due to the higher percentage and mild scent of oak, dry basil and bee-wax, really give a special touch to this wine.

Aromas

At the first try, this wine has a very specific taste. Whether it’s weird or not, in addition to the acids that first cover the palate, a strong taste of dried basil and oregano, propolis and wax, as well as the smoked oak, is felt. This oak-like taste that got into wine actually removes tannin remarkably, which is strong before the orifice of the oak. After that, when the tannins are withdrawn, acids come in and the oak is left on the palate as the finish .

Body

Regardless of the high content of tannins, which comes from Sangiovese,
Canaiolo definitely changes the body of this wine with its acids, so this wine is easy on palate, light-bodied, juicy and fresh.

Tannin

Tannins are accentuated, strong, quite diverged from wine for a moment, and there is a mild sense of shrinkage of the mouth and clenched teeth.

Acids

Acids open the wine, making it fresh, drinkable, soothing tannins and refreshing the palate after them.

Alcohol

The high content of alcohol is definitely felt in wine, with the first smell, this wine is, no doubt, hot.
Although often unpleasant, the high alcohol content here is not too strong, but it feels hot when drinking wine, which I personally do not like, although it goes nicely with such strong tannins.

Finish

The final taste on the palate that feels long after drinking this wine is the taste of smoked oak barrel and wax, which gives that specific note to the whole wine.

And that is all. True, it’s harder to taste blends than pure varietal wines, at least for me, because knowing the characteristics of certain varieties in purely varietal wines, I know what I can expect in advance.
However, when trying blends, it is specific, since two or more varieties in the blend are literally acting one on the other and it is very interesting
how one variety changes under the influence of the other, and vice versa.

What is your favorite blend and where is it from?

Cheers!

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