Anna Maria Giambanco DiPietro
April 30, 2021 | Learn Italian (Varietals)... with BOTTAIA | Anna Maria Giambanco DiPietro

Learn Italian (Varietals)... Montepulciano


About Montepulciano

Montepulciano (“mon-tay-pull-chee-yanno”) is a thick-skinned, dark red wine grape that originated in central Italy—specifically, in the Tuscan hilltop town by the same name. Similar to Merlot, it’s a rustic, deeply pigmented, low-acid varietal related to the Sangiovese grape. Also known as Violone, Morellone, Uva Abruzzo, and Cordisco, a sip or two will reveal notes of spice, tobacco, and leather.

First cultivated by the Romans in the 8th century, it didn’t gain momentum until late in the 20th century when it became Italy’s most widely exported native varietal, second only to Sangiovese. In addition to Italy, Montepulciano grows well in New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, and California. It has been referred to as the “perfect pizza wine”, but Montepulciano pairs well with anything from sausage and pasta to duck and lamb.

Winemaker Notes

Winemaker, Brian Hulbert, says that this bottle features “prolific aromas of blackberry, boysenberry cedar, tobacco, and black currant. On the palate, it showcases white pepper, licorice, and black cherry culminating with mulling spice and oak."

Pairing Notes

Speaking of pairing, this bottle goes well with grilled meats, beans, pan-roasted root vegetables, and baked mac and cheese. Rich hearty dishes like meat-stuffed shells with rich red sauce love Montepulciano, so scroll down for our Bottaia Bolognese recipe! When it comes to a cheese plate that can accompany Montepulciano, shoot for fontina, gouda, asiago, Parmigiano-Reggiano, provolone, and for your less adventurous guests, try aged cheddar or Monterey Jack.

Bottaia Bolognese

Bottaia Bolognese Recipe


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 lb pancetta
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 red onion
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup dry red or white wine
  • high-quality olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper & a pinch of nutmeg


Mince the carrots, pancetta, and onion, then heat them all in a pan with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir and sauté over medium flame for 3-4 minutes.

Add the ground beef and sauté for 5 minutes, then add the wine and cook it down until it evaporates. Add crushed tomatoes, milk, and broth, stirring frequently.

Simmer over a low flame for 2-3 hours, stirring to make sure nothing sticks to the pan. Cook the pasta and serve with warm sauce—top with fresh basil, nutmeg, and freshly ground black pepper.

Ready to visit us and flaunt your knowledge of Italian varietals? Make a tasting room reservation or inquire about our BOTTAIA Wine Club by clicking here or calling (951) 365-3388. We look forward to seeing you soon.



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