Not matter how hard *it* seemingly tries, Montepulciano and it’s Noble wine seems to run second to it’s Westerly cousin, Brunello.  In a sense, that’s a shame.  But really, it’s not.  For the cognoscenti realize that not everything can be “the best” – the term by definition is mutually exclusive.  In the case of Vino Nobile, it’s perfectly permissible to be, in a sense, the runner up. Because in this case, runner up is pretty damn good.  The wines from Montepulciano have never been better.  We’ve covered them regularly here on Tuscan Vines because no one else seems to!  That’s also a shame, because as the intensity and quality of the wines increase, you can be on the leading edge in knowing which wines to seek out.  In knowledge, there is power.  In sharing knowledge, there is power. 

As I remarked not long ago, one of my wine epiphanys was the 1990 Carpineto Brunello.  It was a wine that not only turned me onto Brunello,  but put Carpineto on my radar as well.  That lead me to buying and enjoying my very first Vino Nobile, the 1988 Carpineto Riserva.  As we continue our Vino Nobile coverage, we’ve fast forwarded to the winery’s recent release of that very wine. 
The 2011 Carpineto Vino Nobile Riserva is a deep ruby colored wine with slight violet reflections throughout.  Decanted for 30 minutes, the pleasing aromas on the wine reflect freshly cut flowers, wild red fruits and hints of plum like spice.   

On the palate, the wine is elegant and very graceful.  Feminine and not at all a bruiser. Soft, ripe red fruits have nice depth of flavor and are backed by sweet spices and hints of fennel and herb.  What this lacks in complexity it makes up for in charm.   Balanced well, the tannins are integrated and barely noticeable.  Approachable early,  I would drink this sooner and allow more masculine versions of Vino Nobile to rest in your cellar.

Carpineto vinifies this wine in stainless steel and then ages it in Slavonian Oak and barrique for up to 4 years – a full year longer than is required by the appellation in order to label the wine, Riserva.  I sense this extended aging contributes to the softer, elegant feel of this wine.   88 points and a nice value at the average retail of $20.  Disclosure:  This bottle was an importer provided sample.

~ The Vino Nobile Riserva is 70% Sangiovese and 30% Canaiolo and other approved red grapes.  I suspect a Vino Nobile made with a higher percentage of Sangiovese could be a more masculine, long lived wine.  This blend leads to a more elegant, feminine version. ~

Buon fine Settimana!

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