Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, loosely translated as, the Noble Wine of Montepulciano, is an often overlooked DOCG wine from the Tuscan hill top town of Montepulciano.  Why overlooked?  Well, it just so happens that Montepulciano’s “next door” neighbor is the prestigious town of Montalcino.  With the prominent Brunello hailing from a stones throw away, it’s easy to be relegated to second class status.  Although that status may not be completely justified, for while the Noble Wine of Montepulciano is indeed delicious, it fails to consistently reach the heights that fine Brunello regularly attains.  Made from at least 70% “Prugnolo Gentile” the local name for the Sangiovese grape, Vino Nobile can be blended with Malvasia or may be 100% Prugnolo Gentile.
The 2008 Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is an unspecified blend, but I’m suspecting that it’s well over 70% Prugnolo Gentile. It’s a deep ruby red in the glass with classic Sangiovese aromas and flavors of wild berries, dried herbs, sweet tobacco, leather and earth. There’s a slight oak component underneath that adds, but does not detract.  Medium bodied and in good balance, the wine represents exactly what Vino Nobile is about.  While delicious, this reminds of a top Chianti Classico or a very good Rosso di Montalcino. It doesn’t have the power, finesse, body, or complexity that Brunello exhibits and while some writers always seek to compare the two wines because of their hamlets proximity,  I believe it’s comparing apples to oranges.  
Regardless of how you view it, Avignonesi may well be the best producer of Vino Nobile and this wine is worth having in the cellar for a slightly different take on Sangiovese.  90 points, about $23. 

2008 Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

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