Red Wines of Tuscany Part Two – Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

Our weekly wine tastings at Fine Wines of Stockton have started again. We continued with the second of four wine tastings featuring red wines of Tuscany. During the first tasting in this series we tasted Rosso di Montalcino. We chose two favorites from among six wines that we tasted and wrote about that tasting before Christmas. This tasting features Vino Nobili di Montepulciano.

George started the tasting by giving us some background on Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Montepulciano is a hill top village about 75 miles southeast of Florence. A quick look at the excellent map of Tuscany on the Cellar Tours’ website will orient you.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is DOCG (Denominazione di origine controllata garanita) designated and according to DOCG regulations, the wines must be 60 – 80% Sangiovese Grosso (referred to locally as Prugnolo Gentile), with the balance comprised of Canaiolo and local white varietals. George indicated most winemakers do not use white varietals. The grapes must be grown around the village of Montepulciano. The climate there is very warm, producing robust, full-flavored wines.

Our mission this week was to choose our two favorite “Nobiles”. These two favorites will join the two favorites from the “Rosso” tasting and two favorites we will choose when we have the Chianti tasting next week. Then, all six wines will move forward to the Tuscan Taste Off.

Oh, and just to make things interesting, George told us one wine among the six we would be tasting this week was not a Nobile di Montepulciano. So, in addition to choosing our favorite two wines, we need to identify the wine in the group that is not a Nobile. No pressure!

Here’s what we thought:

Fattoria Del Cerro2008 Fattorio del Cerro – the light ruby-garnet colored wine had a minimal nose of tobacco (asphalt to me), followed with flavors of bright red fruit, plums and tobacco. The tannins were significant and grippy. This wine showed complex flavor, a light mouth-feel and good acidity. Always a great combination. This wine contains 90% Sangiovese, 5% Colorino, 5% Mammolo. This was the group’s favorite wine.

For another point of view on this wine, you might want to check out this post on Tuscan Vines.

2009 TorCalvano – the color was a darker ruby-garnet with a closed nose. Complex fruit flavors with lots of acidity and drying tannins. This wine was restrained and complex at the same time. The finish was slightly hot. This wine is 100% Sangiovese.

Valdipiatta2008 Tenuta Valdipiatta – darker ruby-garnet color with riper fruit flavors, leather (asphalt), good acidity and drying tannins once again. This wine had a light mouth-feel and lots of flavor. Once again, the finish was hot. Overall, this wine tasted like an unrestrained version of the TorCalvano, more of everything. It is 85% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo Nero. This was the group’s second favorite wine.

2010 Fontanafredda Briccotondo Langhe DOC Dolcetto – this medium ruby colored wine had a closed nose and tasted like cherries with a bit of sweetness. The tannins were smooth and the wine had a very light mouth-feel. Overall, this was a lighter red wine with less acidity than others in this group.

Pete and I both guessed this wine was not a Nobile, which was the case. This wine is 100% Dolcetto and is fermented and aged in stainless, no wood. We snagged a couple of bottles of this Dolcetto. It had pleasant flavors, smooth tannins and will be great when we want a lighter red wine.

2007 Tenimenti Angelini TreRose – the dark garnet colored wine had sulfur and burnt match on the nose. The flavors tasted of dried cherries and plums with leather (ashphalt) and significant acid. This wine still had significant, grippy tannins and a long finish with flavor and tannins. The combination of grapes here is 90% Sangiovese, 5% Canaiolo, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. The unusual flavors in this wine provoked a lot of discussion.

2008 La Braccescha – this wine showed a light garnet color with a bit of leather on the nose, cherries and leather flavors, good acidity and drying tannins. Overall, a very pleasant wine composed of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot.

So, once again a very pleasant group of wines. The reviews were mixed on the TreRose, but other than that, all were well-liked. These wines will pair well with roasted meats and hearty dishes. Prices ranged from $20 – $37 for the Nobile. The Dolcetto is priced at $16.

So, next week we will taste Chianti (Classico and Reserva) from several producers. I can hardly wait!


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