What’s different between 3 Organic Montepulciano: Vino Nobile, Molise, d’Abruzzo + Osso Bucco #ItalianFWT

Montepulciano x 3! Paired with Osso Bucco

Looking for a WOW meal to impress your Valentine, Galentine, Pandemic Pod, or too familiar family during this extended stay at home period? Something serious, something new, something special, something that fits a budget– and with leftovers makes a few more meals? How about this instant pot Osso Bucco Stew paired with Montepulciano? 

First off, what’s different between these three organic Montepulciano: 

  • Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
  • Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
  • Molise Montepulciano 

If you guessed:

  • that the first wine, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, is made from sangiovese (the wine best known from Chianti) but grown near the town of Montepulciano,
  • that the second wine, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, is made from Montepulciano grapes grown in Abruzzo, a region on the Adriatic Sea to the east fo Montepulciano
  • and that the third wine is from Montepuliciano grapes with some aglianico grown in Molise, just south of Abruzzo

    then you are correct! 

So what’s the difference between Sangiovese and Montepulciano? 

The Wine: Vino Nobile di Montepulciano aka Sangiovese

In 1685, poet Francesco Redi pronounced Vino Nobile di Montepulciano as “the king of all wines!”

Sangiovese, the most widely planted red grape in Italy with 10% of overall plantings, and is the only or primary grape in the Tuscan wines of not only Chianti but also  Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and many “Super Tuscans.”  Outside Tuscany, Sangiovese is a popular grape on it sown and blended. Sangiovese offers herbal and bitter cherry notes as well as pipe tobacco and spice with high acidity, tannins and a light color. Sangiovese, with its high acidity, pairs well with tomato based sauces.

According to Wikipedia, “the name Vino Nobile di Montepulciano was invented by Adamo Fanetti. Until 1930 and beyond, the wine was officially called “Vino rosso scelto di Montepulciano,” but Adamo called his wine “nobile” (noble).” The region earned DOC status in 1966 and DOCG in 1980 (modified in 1999).

The Wine: Montepulciano

Montepulciano d’Abuzzo grapes tend toward being plump, generous, and deeply colored with sweet tannins and low acidity. The fruity softness offers accessibility when young, and makes it a great gateway wine full of red fruit, dark cherry fruits, plum, spice, licorice. It can age for 10 years or more to add complexity and soften the tannins.

The soul of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo expresses itself in the clay soils of the DOCG, says Dr. Scienza as cited in my VinItaly Wine Ambassador course February 2019.


The Organic Wines

  • Valdipiatta Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2016 ($37)
  • Di Majo Norante Ramitello Biferno Rosso 2014 ($19)
  • Art of Earth Montepulciano D’Abruzzo ($12)
The Menu
  • Cheese board: cambozola blue cheese, prosciutto, olives with cranberries and citrus 
  • Green salad with olives, cranberry, citrus 
  • Osso Bucco Stew over mashed potatoes 
Not only is Montepulciano a great wine, it is also so fun to say, and today we can say it two ways. Neither one of these wines this evening were cocktail sipping wines, but wines that need food to be truly enjoyed, and with the proper foods they are absolutely fantastic.
We’ve paired Montepulciano with Osso Bucco before; here’s our results: “4 Montepulciano Paired with Osso Bucco Warms Up Winter Italian Style”

Art of Earth Montepuliciano

2019 Art of Earth Montepulciano D’Abruzzo DOC
ABV 13.5% 
SRP $12
sample for my review 
From their website: “Mack & Schuhle Inc. is located in Miami, USA. We work hand in hand with the headquarters of the Mack & Schuehle Group, in Owen, Germany to reach our ambitious goals.” https://mack-schuehle.com/en/our-brands/art-of-earth
Color: Medium density plum, maroon, dusty rose rim
Nose: This does not smell like a $12 wine — more like a million dollars. Fresh turned soil, like you are getting ready to plant in the garden after a rain, violets and iris, fennel fronds, anise.
I smelled this and thought to myself “where is my sausage pizza?”
Palate: Tart cherry, cherry phosphate, very acidic, very clean, black licorice richness, not just cherry, a little plum as well.  This is a food driven wine. It yearns for that sausage pizza, or meatball sandwich. Raspberry croissant, a bit of yeast. Sue felt it may have been wild yeast, native yeast from the grape itself. There is a richness, but overall it is very bright tart fruit. 
Pairing: The cambozola cheese was a bit overwhelming to this wine. The wine had a difficult time coming through , then when it did, it was a bit too fruity. It did however work nicely with the prosciutto. I thought of a prosciutto wrapped melon with a balsamic reduction (as Sue has done before). While the cambozola was a bit overwhelming, the osso busco stew was a completely different experience. It loved the herbs, the fresh, rosemary, thyme, and sage in the stew. They  hit it off like perfect companions. 


Di Majo Norante “Ramitello” Biferno Rosso 2014 DOC
SRP $19
sample for my review
blend of 85% Montepulciano and 15% Aglianico

According to distributor Winebow, “Renowned oenologist and winemaker at Di Majo Norante, Riccardo Cotarella, ensures consistent and high-quality production for all the estate’s wines. The winery, which is located in Molise, is certified organic and gives careful attention to grape selection, harvesting, and vinification methods. They do not use any synthetic fertilizers or pesticides on their products.

Color: Medium density, ruby red, pale pink rim, bright and pretty
Nose: Plum fruit, flint, cherry and plum, dark stone fruit, very earthen, licorice, fennel, sandalwood.
Palate: Very clean and tart, tart and clean, plum and raspberry on the finish after you have salivated through the tartness there is a pine essence on the palate as well as a fennel quality. 2014 and such clean bright fruit. It yearns for food. 
Pairing: The cambazolla becomes similar to a rich mocha, and the wine is also creamy rich and wonderful. The olives were fantastic with the wine taming the tannins and bringing out the fruit. We wanted the prosciutto to be fried or crispy just for the texture and flavor, but it was still pretty fantastic. We kept wanting pizza. It was great with the osso busco. It was really good with the meal. Again, it was all about the herbs and the herbasiousness in the wine. The acidity in the tomatoes and the acitiey in the wine also went quite nicely together bringing out a nice fruit in the wine. The earthiness of the mushrooms and the richness of the meat were a perfect match.  

Valdipiatta Vino di Montepulciano is made from organic sangiovese

Valdipiatta Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2016 ($37) DOCG
ABV 14%; SRP $37
sample for my review

According to press materials from Winebow, “The vineyards at Valdipiatta are an oasis of biodiversity, with wild plants that grow between vine rows and cover crops that attract beneficial insects, creating a natural balance against predator insects. The estate received EU organic certification in 2018 and seeks to create an ecosystem that makes the vines naturally stronger and resistant to disease.
Miriam Caporali, estate owner, explains, “Smooth tasting wines with unique and interesting flavors could only be made with environmentally respectful grape-growing and sensitive winemaking.” 

The Vino Nobile di Montepulciano has intense aromas of ripe dark berries and black cherries complemented by subtler notes of spices and tobacco.

Color: Brick with a coral or tangerine rim 
Nose: Cherry, tart cherry, clove and pepper spices, baking spices, cigar box, beautiful complexity on the nose.
Super inviting, you just want to keep putting your nose to the glass. Violets, earth, freshly tilled soil.
Palate: Cherry, tart cherry, clean and dry, salivating, fennel, fennel pollen, peppery finish. combination of loads of tannins and loads of acidity. this wine could definitely lay down for several more years. Black licorice at the back of the palate that lingers for a long time. 
Pairing: We thought about having a bean soup, and how rich hearty meals would be perfect with the wine. Pull out a little Cambozola and it is a wow moment for me. Pinot and Pate, Goat cheese and Sauv blanc are perfect pairings, This wine and Cambozola is another perfect pairing and an OMG moment when the two come together. The wine loves the rich creaminess and salty tanginess of the cheese to tame the tannins and bring out the sweet fruit in the wine. It is a game changer. We really liked this wine, then when we added the creamy blue cheese it was incredible.  We were both blown away at how wonderful the briny green olives were with the wine. It brings out the complex flavors in the olives, and in return they bring out the fruit in the wine. We felt that this was the best wine of the evening by far. It was stellar with the Osso Bucco and spectacular with the lamb chops covered in rosemary and garlic.
While we really loved this wine we decided this was an unfair comparison. Better to compare wines at similar price points. 
Bottom line, all three wines were great and great with the meal. so regardless of the price point you can have a wonderful organic wine from Italy paired with a special meal and have a teriffic date night any time. 

Beef Instant Pot Osso Bucco Stew

recipe instructions here
  • 4 lb beef shanks
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 shallots chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 2 T flour
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  •  2 cups red wine (Montepulciano)
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomato
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 2 sprigs fresh Rosemary
  • 2 florets freshsage
  • 6 or 7 branches fresh thyme
  • Turn instant pot to sauté and add olive oil
  • Brown beef shanks in olive oil on all sides and remove from instant pot.
  • Sauté onion, carrot, and celery together for 3 to 5 minutes, add garlic and sauté another minute.
  • Add flour and cook 1 minute stirring constantly 
  • Add the rest of the ingredients in the pot and stir to mix
  • Put the beef shanks back in the pot with any beef juices that may have collected
  • Cook on high setting for 90 minutes


  • On the first night for four people, we served over mashed potatoes.
  • We had about three quarts of sauce leftover.
  • On the second night, we added chopped garlic, one pound of ground beef, Italian herbs, 3 T tomato paste. and one quart sauce served on penne pasta. 
  • On the third night, we grilled lamb chops which we served with leftover potatoes and sauce. 
  • On the fourth night, we added one pound turkey Italian sausage and on 15 ounce can of tomato sauce and 2 T paste which we served over polenta.
If Italian Wine with Braised Meat or Stew is what you need to warm up your winter or share with your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day, check out these posts. Our host is Culinary Adventures with Camilla, and you can read her invitation post here

You’re invited to our twitter chat Sat. Feb. 6 at the early hour of 8am Pacific time but you can check out the hashtag #ItalianFWT anytime. Here’s what we will be discussing based on questions developed by the host: 

  • Welcome to the #ItalianFWT chat on Italian wines with braised meats and stews for cold winter nights! Introduce yourself, and where you are tweeting from. Share a link to your blog if applicable.
  • Q1  So, we’re talking about Italian wines with braised meats and stews for cold winter nights for today’s #ItalianFWT. Do you have a favorite winter wine? What makes it your favorite?
  • Q2  Did you write a post for today’s event? If so, please share a link to your blog if you wrote on the topic today. #ItalianFWT
  • Q3  Did you pair your Italian wine with a wintery dish of braised meat or warming stew? What did you make? Share a link to your recipe if you posted one! #ItalianFWT
  • Q4  If you made a seasonal dish for #ItalianFWT, is there a certain ingredient in it that you can only get during the winter? 
  • Q5  How did the flavors in the food complement your wine? Is there anything you would do differently next time. #ItalianFWT
  • Q6  If you didn’t make a seasonal dish for #ItalianFWT, how did you pair your Italian wine?  How did the flavors in the food complement your wine? #ItalianFWT
  • Q7  #ItalianFWT Any final thoughts about Italian wines with braised meats and stews for winter nights? Did you learn something new? 

Next month on March 6, #ItalianFWT will focus on Italian grapes grown outside of Italy with @linda_lbwcsw hosting. We are excited about Nebbiolo from Southern California in Santa Barbara County, from the Sierras in El Dorado County, and northern California’s Humboldt County… or maybe we should do California sangiovese that we didn’t talk about last spring here with a Ranchita Canyon vertical of Sangiovese  from Paso Robles… 


18 thoughts on “What’s different between 3 Organic Montepulciano: Vino Nobile, Molise, d’Abruzzo + Osso Bucco #ItalianFWT

  1. I’ve never been a huge Chianti fan but love Vino Nobile and this one sounds fantastic! And your description of the pairing with the blue cheese …. (runs out to see if she can find these) !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I absolutely love osso bucco but have never paired it with a Montepulciano (which I also love!) You and Sue always post such an array of food and wine combos that I’m prompted to rethink how many ingredients complement and contrast with each other. Thanks for the exercise!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Our favorite winter dish of all time is osso bucco. We’ve never made it at home as we have always loved eating it at our favorite restaurant, but they closed due to covid. We are going to give your recipe a try. It sounds amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great! Doing shanks in the instant pot has been a game changer for us! Tell me how it goes! Also there’s a few Osso Bucco recipes on the blog using the instant pot– this one is more on the Italian beef stew side and it might be a runny which we didn’t mind because of leftovers for days! (We had the last bit last night — added some Alfredo sauce to make it creamy! My family loved it!)


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