Wine Shopping at the Contucci Cellar, One of Montepulciano’s Many Wine Cellars:
Montepulciano is a well-known wine-producing area and its Vino Nobile is one of the oldest wines of Italy – there is written mention of this wine as early as 790. If you’re interested in Italian wines, you don’t have to look very far to find a cellar in this town. From the big producers to the smaller family-run wineries, most have cellars or outlets in the centro storico.
Visiting the Contucci Cellar
Lining the Corso, Montepulciano’s main street, and around Piazza Grande, there are numerous wine-tasting places and Cantina Contucci is one of them.
The Contucci family is one of the oldest families in Montepulciano and they have been cultivating grapes since Renaissance times. Of their 170-hectare estate, 21 hectares are vineyards, with 15 hectares dedicated to Vino Nobile. The remaining 6 hectares are used for the Rosso Di Montepulciano, Bianco della Contessa, Il Sansovino, Vin Santo and Bianco della Contessa.
The Palazzo Contucci on Piazza Grande is the residence of the Contucci family as well as the location of their cellar. All the wines produced by the Contucci estate are matured in oak barrels here.The entrance to the cellar is just off the main square and tourists are welcome to just stroll around the cellar to see where their precious wines are cellared. We were quite surprised that no one from Contucci supervised us as we sniffed around the cellar, drooling over the barrels of the noble drop.
After visiting the cellar, you can taste and buy some of the Contucci wines in the Cantina Contucci. If you like the Vino Nobile, there’s no better place to buy it than in Montepulciano itself. Sixty percent of Contucci wine sales are actually made directly from the cellars and the remainder are exported. The four-bottle wine pack at €80 was tempting, but we had no means of carrying it around with us.
Vino Nobile is made mainly from the Sangiovese grape (known locally as Prugnolo gentile) and blended with Canaiolo Neroa and Colorino grapes. Being a DOCG status wine, its production follows strict rules. The Vino Nobile are aged in the barrels for two years before being released and in the case of the Riserva, it is three years. If you don’t want to pay the higher price for the Vino Nobile, the Rosso di Montepulciano is made from the same grapes but only aged for a short six or seven months.
The Contucci cellar is open for visits and wine-tasting on week-days and holidays. Opening times are: 09.00 – 12.30 and 14.30 – 18.30.
Montepulciano Wine Info
If you’re keen on wine and wine tours, the information centre of the Strada del Vino Nobile (www.stradavinonobile.it) in Piazza Grande has brochures and organizes wine tours for visitors. These tours allow wine lovers to tour the wineries and meet the producers of Montepulciano’s Vino Nobile.