One of the very special things about spending time in Montepulciano is its fantastically affordable wine, but most of all it’s the wonderful people. Since we first started visiting this great town which sits between two much better known Tuscan wine regions of Brunello (20 miles to the west) and Chianti (30 miles north east) we have met and become friends with many of the locals. We really miss our time with them when we return to the US.
One such friend is Irene Lesti with the wonderful winery of Montemercurio, only 2 miles from Villa Nobile. A few years ago, Irene introduced us to their fabulous wines and to its winemaker Marco Anselmi. The winery originally belonged to his Damo (grandfather) and he took it over at the age of 19. In the last 11 years, he has created award winning wines. And unlike so many others that sell their wines before they are aged and ready to drink, he holds them back to make sure that when his customers open his bottles, they have an outstanding experience.
Over the years, we have sent numerous Villa Nobile guests to visit the winery and to enjoy a spectacular tasting. You can check out their wines at www.montemercurio.com/en. It is difficult to find their wines here in the US so you may need to contact Irene directly who will be happy to help you with an order and if you do, our favorite is the “Damo”, of course.
There are so many great wines of Montepulciano, especially the classic, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Vino Nobile is a red wine with a Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita status produced in the designated vineyards surrounding the town of Montepulciano. The wine is made with a minimum of 70% Sangiovese grape varietal (known locally as Prugnolo gentile) which can be blended with Canaiolo Nero (10%–20%) and small amounts of other local varieties such as Mammolo. The wine should not be confused with Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, a red wine made from the “Montepulciano Grape” grown in the Abruzzo region which is more than 160 miles southeast of our Montepulciano.
In the Tuscan wine-producing town of Montepulciano there are a number of different wines produced and our favorites are:
- Rosso di Montepulciano – Similar to its “big-brother”, Vino Nobile, but this wine is aged in oak barrels for a minimum of 1 year
- Nobile di Montepulciano – Discussed above, but some wineries elect not to produce it in sub-optimal years
- Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva – Aged longer and produced from the winemakers’ best vineyards in quality years
- IGT Wines - These wines do not meet the DOC/G regulations because they the usually include a blend of Sangiovese along with international grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Some IGTs are made solely with international varietals. IGTs can be both value wines and very expensive wines.
There are a variety of wineries located near Villa Nobile. Montemercurio being one of them along with Avignonesi, Bindella, Boscarelli, Dei, Carpiento, Gattavecchi, Poliziano, Salcheto, etc. All of these are fabulous wines and becoming much more popular here in the US. You just can’t beat the prices of these and they are simply delicious. Some are higher-end than the others, but all of them offer a great wine experience.
If you stay at Villa Nobile or are just passing through Montepulciano and would like to try some of these wines you can make arrangements to visit the wineries or you can go to our favorite wine bar E Lucevan le Stelle (www.locandasanfrancesco.it/wine-bar-tuscany) located at the top of the town in Piazza San Francesco n. 3 and sample a selection from their collection. Both Luca, the owner, and Christian are great hosts and really know their wines. As a matter of fact, we always rely on Christian to make a recommendation on what to try. This is such a fantastic little place that we always go to it several times while we are visiting. They offer food as well and on certain nights they have a jazz band that plays. We ended our holiday there for “Clean out the Refrigerator Night” with a rocking jazz trio.
During the past Christmas holiday, we were invited back to Montemercurio by Irene and Marco. They hosted us for a lunch in the tasting room. Marco's grandmother made homemade pici which is the local pasta from this area and his mother made the ragu sauce. Marco prepared Florentine Steak for all of us on the fireplace grill. It was a VERY SPECIAL lunch for us and we cannot thank them enough for their warmth and making us feel like family. We have traveled to several countries around the world, but Italians really know how to make you feel a part of their world. Luca and Christian will do the same at their wine bar. Love them and can’t wait until our next visit!!!
Here are the websites to check out for the various wineries:
- Avignonesi - https://avignonesi.it/en
- Bindella - http://www.bindella.it/?LG=EN
- Boscarelli - http://www.poderiboscarelli.com
- Carpiento - http://www.carpineto.com/?lang=en
- Dei – http://www.cantinedei.it/en
- Gattavecchi - https://www.gattavecchi.it/en/the-historic-cellar
- Poliziano - http://www.carlettipoliziano.com/eng/home.html
- Salcheto - http://www.salcheto.it/en