Montepulciano, the Grape and the Town

So it’s starting. My first daily post begins today and will continue up until exam time. In WSET 3 class, we covered Italy this weeks so the next several posts will be on that.

I find Italy incredibly difficult – the varietals, the names of the regions. And it’s not just these unfamiliar Italian names on their own that are truly testing my memory, but because I’ve come across a town and grape with the same name! Right?! These Italians don’t make it easy! Case in point: Montepulciano.

Montepulciano

Montepulciano is a town in southern Tuscany. Photo from Wikipedia Commons.

A town in the Tuscany region, it’s also a varietal that you’ll find in the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita). So, Montepulciano, the varietal, is not actually used in the wine that comes from the town Montepulciano. In fact, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG uses the varietal Sangiovese as its main grape. Confused yet?

Here’s the trick to remembering what’s what. If you see di or d’, the word it precedes is a place. I don’t know Italian, but based on the other Latin based language I do read, write and speak, French, Montepulciano D’Abruzzo would mean Montepulciano (the grape) from Abruzzo (the place) or Montepulciano of Abruzzo. So in case of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, it is wine that comes from Montepulciano, not wine made of Montepulciano.

More on Italy tomorrow! Make sure you come back. If you have any questions, please please, please submit it in the comment section at the end of this post. Not only will my response satisfy your curiosity, but it’ll help me tremendously answering them!

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