Our tasting impressions
Having tasted many of the most revered Vino Nobile wines, for me, none impress like the one from Innocenti. It leans more toward the elegant style but what it might lack in power, it makes up for in richness and depth. It’s a wine that you really should contemplate even if it is delicious enough just to enjoy. In its own subtle way, this is a great Sangiovese wine that will age and evolve nicely for decades. If this was Chianti Classico or certainly Brunello the price would be considerably higher. Lucky you!
About this wine
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG is, along with Brunello and Chianti Classico, the epitome of Sangiovese-based wines in Tuscany. At their best, Vino Nobile combine the power of Brunello with the finesse of Chianti.
Innocenti’s Vino Nobile is 100% Sangiovese (technically Prugnolo Gentile, the mame for its local sub-variety) since 1999. It ages about three times longer than the required 2 years in oak barrels.
N.B. These wines are sometimes confused with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. There, it is a wine made from the grape variety Montepulciano. Here, Montepulciano is the name of the place where this wine is made.
About the grape
Sangiovese is the most planted grape in Italy and is the dominant grape throughout the central part of the country. There are many variants and even different names like Prugnolo Gentile, Brunello, Sangioveto and Morellino.
The grapes are dark and thick skinned, slow-ripening, acidic and tannic. Like Pinot Noir, Sangiovese is heavily influenced by its terroir and similarly can be quite transparent in its differences from place to place.
Traditionally, Sangiovese-based wines (except in Montalcino) have other grapes mixed in, but in recent history there have been many successful wines produced from 100% Sangiovese. So, today, they are quite common.
About the vintage
2012 looked for quite a while like it was going to be a replica of 2011, with persistent above average temperatures. Late August rain saved the flagging vines and helped produce a vintage of generally balanced, fresh wines with a measure of delicacy.
On your table
Not particularly Tuscan, but we enjoyed this immensely with a variety of Turkish delights like maze, grilled lamb, eggplant, etc.. Serve at cellar temperature.
Vittorio Innocenti, a former philosophy teacher and his son Tommaso run this estate from a 13th century cellar in Montefollonico. They own 32 hectares in and around Montepulciano but only 12 are planted with vineyards of up to 50 years old. The vista views from the back patio are incredible.
They produce seven wines, but the cellars (in multiple locations) are dominated by the small barrels containing Vin Santo - a traditional Tuscan dessert wine. Vittorio says he has enough crops to produce more wine but he can’t because there is no room to store it.
Vittorio speaks no English and I no Italian. So we struggle to communicate in French unless, as usually is the case, his close friend Laura is on hand to translate. Despite the language gap, I like and have a deep respect for Vittorio. He is intensely committed to producing the highest quality wines and takes as much pride in his most modest offering as he does his top bottling.
VDLT is the only North American source for these extraordinary wines.