Many years ago, a wine writer said that the problem with Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is that it is “caught in the shadow between Chianti and Brunello.”

Six of the top producers of Vino Noble decided to do something about this so they to banded together to form an Alliance to promote the wine. They presented their wines at a tasting in NYC followed by a seminar with a representative from each winery.

Albiera Antinori – La Braccesca

Luca de Ferrari – Poderi Boscarelli

Federico Carletti – Poliziano

Caterina Dei – Cantine Dei

Luca de Ferrari – Poderi Boscarelli

Michele Manelli – Salcheto

Virginie Saverys – Avignonesi

“Individual humility and collective pride is probably the best definition of nobility,” is their slogan. They believe that now is the time to elevate and preserve a wine of true nobility. In addition to their regular wines each winery presented a new wine called “Nobile” made from 100% Sangiovese from the 2015 vintage. I was able to taste these wines. They show promise, but they are still too young( one was a barrel sample) to be judged.

The panel discussed the following:

Vino Nobile can only be made from grapes grown around the town of Montepulciano in the province of Siena in Southeast Tuscany in the hills around the Chiana Valley. The soil here is sandy and rich in clay with many rocks and the climate is temperate.

The wine is made mostly from Sangiovese known locally as Prugnolo Gentile (at least 70%) and other approved red varieties. It was mentioned by the panel that recently many producers are making the wine from 100% Sangiovese.

Vino Noble is aged for a minimum of two years, including one in oak barrels or casks and three years total in order to be called a Riserva.

There is a wine from Abruzzo named Montepulciano d’Abruzzo made from the Montepulciano grape. It should not be confused with Vino Noble di Montipulciano, made in a different region from different grapes.

In order to highlight Vino Nobile di Montepuliciano’s significant personality, bring the wine up to date and avoid any confusion, the Alliance producers will refer to their wines simply as “Nobile” instead of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. They believe it is a renaissance of this Italian classic.

The panel also discussed the problem of how Vino Nobile often falls in the shadows of its Tuscan neighbors Chianti and Brunello. It was pointed out that Vino Nobile was the first DOCG to appear on the Italian market and is a renowned red wine that stands on its own.

There were between 25 to 30 wines at the tasting and I have to say that the Alliance members have been among my favorite producers of Nobile (Vino Nobile di Montepulciano). I have visited over the years 5 of the 6 wineries.

Just to list a few of some of the wines at the tasting: Grand Annata 2012 from Avigonesi, The 2004 and 1995 Vino Nobile Asinone from Poliziano– that proves the wine can age. The 2012 Riserva and the 2013 Il Nocio Nobile from Boscarelli whose wines may have been my introduction to Vino Nobile many years ago. La Braccesca Santa Pia Nobile Riserva 2012, Dei Vino Nobile Riserva 2007 from a Lt. 3.0 and the Vino Nobile 2011 Riserva from Salcheto.

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