Montepulciano is a red wine grape variety originating from Italy that is most noted for being the primary grape behind the popular Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wines.
The Montepulciano grape is known for producing wines that are medium to full-bodied, with robust flavors of black cherry, blackberry, and plums, often accompanied by notes of pepper, tobacco, and spices. The hallmark of Montepulciano wines is their deep, inky color and velvety, smooth tannins.
If you enjoy Montepulciano, you might be interested in exploring other wines that share similar characteristics. In this blog post, we will dive into five alternative wines that offer similar flavors, aromas, and textures to Montepulciano.
Here are the five alternatives to Montepulciano that we will be exploring in this post:
2. Nero d’Avola
What wine grape is Montepulciano similar to?
Montepulciano is a red wine grape variety primarily grown in central Italy. It is often compared to Sangiovese, another popular Italian grape variety.
Both Montepulciano and Sangiovese produce medium-bodied red wines with good acidity and moderate tannins.
However, while Sangiovese wines tend to be more elegant and have notes of tart cherry and herbal nuances, Montepulciano wines are typically fruit-forward with flavors of dark berries and plum.
Aglianico is an ancient Italian grape variety that is primarily grown in the Campania and Basilicata regions of Southern Italy. It is the main grape variety used in the production of the esteemed Taurasi and Aglianico del Vulture wines. Aglianico wines are known for their rich, full-bodied nature, with firm tannins and high acidity.
Aglianico wines often exhibit flavors of dark fruits like black cherries, blackberries, and plums, similar to Montepulciano. However, it also has more earthy and savory notes, such as leather, tobacco, and smoke. The high acidity in Aglianico wines adds a refreshing element that helps balance the wine’s powerful structure.
2. Nero d’Avola
About Nero d’Avola:
Nero d’Avola is a popular red grape variety from Sicily, Italy, where it is the most widely planted red grape. It is often used to produce varietal wines, as well as in blends to add color and structure. Nero d’Avola wines are typically full-bodied with moderate to high acidity, making them excellent food-pairing wines.
Like Montepulciano, Nero d’Avola wines often have strong flavors of black cherry, blackberry, and plum. Additionally, they can exhibit notes of chocolate, licorice, and spices. The tannins in Nero d’Avola wines are usually softer and more approachable than those in Montepulciano, making these wines very easy to drink and enjoy.
Primitivo is a red grape variety that originates from the Puglia region of southern Italy. It is genetically identical to the more famous Zinfandel grape found in California, and the two varieties share many similarities in taste and structure. Primitivo wines are bold, full-bodied, and high in alcohol content.
Primitivo wines often possess flavors of ripe black fruits, such as blackberry, cherry, and plum, similar to Montepulciano. Additionally, they can have notes of pepper, spices, and herbs. The tannins in Primitivo wines are generally softer and more rounded than those in Montepulciano, making them very approachable and easy to drink.
Syrah, also known as Shiraz in Australia, is a red grape variety that originates from the Rhône Valley in France. It is now grown worldwide and is the primary grape used in the famous Côte-Rôtie and Hermitage wines from the Northern Rhône, as well as in many Australian Shiraz wines. Syrah/Shiraz wines are typically full-bodied, with a rich, powerful structure.
Syrah/Shiraz wines often exhibit flavors of blackberry, black cherry, and plum, similar to Montepulciano. However, they also have more complex and diverse flavor profiles, including notes of pepper, spices, herbs, smoke, and even bacon fat. The tannins in Syrah/Shiraz wines are often more pronounced and firm than those in Montepulciano, giving the wines a more structured, age-worthy quality.
Malbec is a red grape variety that originally comes from France, but it is now most famously associated with Argentina, where it has become the country’s flagship grape. Malbec wines are typically full-bodied, with a deep, dark color and moderate acidity.
Like Montepulciano, Malbec wines often have strong flavors of black cherry, blackberry, and plum. They also can exhibit notes of chocolate, coffee, and spices. The tannins in Malbec wines are generally softer and more velvety than those in Montepulciano, making them very approachable and easy to drink.
# Conclusion and Personal Recommendation
In this blog post, we explored five alternative wines to Montepulciano that offer similar flavors, aromas, and textures. All of these wines – Aglianico, Nero d’Avola, Primitivo, Syrah/Shiraz, and Malbec – are excellent options for those who enjoy Montepulciano and want to expand their wine horizons.
Personally, I would recommend starting with a Nero d’Avola or a Malbec, as their softer tannins and approachable nature make them very easy to enjoy and appreciate. However, if you’re looking for more complexity and structure, a Syrah/Shiraz or an Aglianico might be a better choice.
No matter which wine you choose, remember that the best way to learn about and appreciate wine is to taste as many different varieties and styles as possible. So go ahead, pour yourself a glass, and enjoy the journey!
Is Montepulciano similar to Cabernet Sauvignon?
No, Montepulciano is not similar to Cabernet Sauvignon. They are two distinct grape varieties with different characteristics. Montepulciano is a red grape primarily grown in central Italy, known for producing wines that are medium-bodied with flavors of dark fruit and moderate acidity.
On the other hand, Cabernet Sauvignon is a red grape that is grown in various wine regions around the world, known for producing full-bodied wines with intense flavors of blackcurrant, tannins, and aging potential.
What is Montepulciano similar to?
Montepulciano is a red wine grape variety that is similar to Sangiovese, as they both originate from Italy and are commonly used in the production of Italian wines. Montepulciano wines are known for their rich, dark fruit flavors and moderate tannins, similar to Sangiovese.
Is Montepulciano the same as Chianti?
No, Montepulciano is not the same as Chianti. Montepulciano is a grape variety primarily grown in central Italy, particularly in the region of Abruzzo. It is used to produce red wines with good structure and moderate acidity.
On the other hand, Chianti is a wine region located in Tuscany, Italy, known for producing red wines primarily made from Sangiovese grapes. Chianti has its own set of regulations and production methods, resulting in a distinct style of wine.
Is Montepulciano similar to Merlot?
No, Montepulciano is not similar to Merlot. Montepulciano is a red wine grape variety primarily grown in central Italy, while Merlot is a red wine grape variety originating from Bordeaux, France. They have different flavor profiles, growing conditions, and characteristics.
What is the closest wine to Montepulciano?
The closest wine to Montepulciano is actually Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. It is a red wine made primarily from Sangiovese grapes, grown in the same region of Tuscany, Italy. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano shares similar characteristics with Montepulciano wines, such as rich fruit flavors, medium to full body, and good aging potential.