Montepulciano d’Abruzzo pairs best with hearty meat and pasta dishes such as lamb kebabs, lasagna, hamburgers loaded with mushrooms, baked Ziti, beef Bolognese, and pasta carbonara. Montepulciano is lower in acidity and medium in its tannin, so I would not pair it up with pasta or pizza dishes that are heavy on the tomato sauce as it will make the tannin taste tinny. Because the tannin is medium, and the wine has some acidity, the amount of tomato sauce found on a typical pizza or in a lasagna will go along just fine with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Profile


What Is This?


What Is This?


What Is This?


What Is This?


What Is This?


What Is This?

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is an Italian red wine from the Abruzzi region, and it is a fleshy and rich with inky dark fruit flavours and earthy with notes of leather, licorice, olives, spice and black pepper. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane DOCG must contain 85% Montepulciano, with the remainder being Sangiovese if the winemaker chooses so. To make matters even more confusing, there is a town in Tuscany called Montepulciano that makes Vino Nobile De Montepulciano, which is a Sangiovese-based wine, so it will taste nothing like Montepulciano.

Montepulciano is also grown and produced in New Zealand, California and Australia, where it is often blended in with the family of Bordeaux grapes, and thus you’ll get a different profile. Most of these pairings should still work, but you’ll need to do your own research as these wines won’t be as consistent as an Italian Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Heck, Montepulciano from other areas of Italy even varies. For example, Northern Italy puts out Montepulciano-based wines, which are green tasting as the climate does not feature the proper growing conditions for the grapes to ripen. Montepulciano (the grape) is also blended into other well-known Italian red wines such as Rosso Conero, Biferno and San Severo Rosso, which I hope to write about further one day.

Be warned, however, as Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is not a new world wine. It’s earthy, funky, intense, big and fat. There is nothing subtle about Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, and if you are used to drinking tame and elegant red wines, this may not be the red for you.

Best Food with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo & Hamburgers with Mushrooms Pairing

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a fantastic wine pairing with Hamburgers topped with mushrooms as the earthy flavours of the wine complement the mushroom flavours. Bacon, which is earthy as well, will love the earthy, leather and coffee notes of this wine.

Montepulciano is a flexible red wine, meaning it will pair up well with whatever you top your hamburgers with. The medium tannin in Montepulciano ensures it holds up to the fatty and protein-heavy hamburger patty, while the dark red and black fruit flavours of blackberries, plum, and cherries swoop in and keep your mouth refreshed. What makes this pairing even better is that Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is not expensive, so if you’re having hamburgers at home and looking for something easy to wind down with, Montepulciano makes for an easy pick.

Beef Bolognese and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Pairing

Pasta Bolognese is a rich meat and tomato sauce that is more meat than tomato sauce, which allows the medium acidity and medium-tannin ratio of Montepulciano a fantastic wine pairing with Pasta Bolognese. The grippy tannin loves the meatier element of the Bolognese, while the acidity has enough bite to handle the tomato’s sauce’s acidity.

The fruity flavours of Montepulciano complement the sweetness of the tomato sauce, while the rich herbal and spicy notes of the wine infuse their own characteristics into the sauce. As it is rather inexpensive, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a wonderful wine to share amongst friends as you sit down to a plate of Spaghetti Bolognese.

Beef Brisket & Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Pairing

Being a medium-bodied red wine, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo has no issue holding up to the meaty but tender flavours of beef brisket. Beef brisket, when cooked properly, is juicy and heavier reds with harsh tannin will overpower the subtle flavours of this slow-cooked dish.  Montepulciano d’Abruzzo features soft tannin, meaning it’s ready to drink out of the bottle, and while loud and inky, the wine tastes smooth, silky and dry so it won’t drown out those hard earned beefy flavours.

I love Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Beef Brisket because the wine complements the crisp outer crust of the brisket. Montepulciano’s earthy, tobacco, and cocoa flavours mirror the crispy crust’s flavours, while the herbal and spicy symphony of this red wine further enhances the brisket’s flavours.

Pizza Rolls & Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Pairing

This entry might seem like a joke, but I assure you it’s not. Many people new to wine are on budgets, and thus, inexpensive and calorie-dense foods like frozen pizza rolls get us through life until we are finally on our feet. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo works well with Pizza Rolls as it won’t overpower the cheese, pepperoni and tomato sauce baked into the pizza pockets. Meanwhile, the red wine adds additional and often much-needed (as pizza rolls can taste bland) flavours of herbs, black pepper, licorice and spice to the mix. Best of all, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is inexpensive, so you can enjoy a glass every night without going further into debt.

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is wonderful with many other inexpensive and comfort food dishes such as meatloaf, baked Ziti, macaroni and cheese, lasagna and pepperoni pizza. Thus, if you live alone and want to experiment with wine and how it interacts with food, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is an affordable way to do so, as you should be able to get five glasses out of a bottle to enjoy over the course of the workweek.

If you are super new to wine, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wouldn’t be my starting point. Most people start with sweet whites, then move to dry whites, where they then try sweeter reds and then move to dryer red wines. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a dry red, so it may not appeal to you, and you might have trouble figuring it out. But, if you do enjoy it, it’s a nice gateway to the wonderful world of old-world wines.

Spare Ribs & Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Pairing

Pork Spare Ribs are cut from the ends of baby back ribs as they are a lot less tender. Thus, they are less expensive as they are almost considered scraps. The Pork Spare Ribs are then smoked, grilled, baked or barbecued. Lots of people now also cook them in their slow cookers.

If you overcook your Spare Ribs, they will get dry and chewy, thus, you’ll often find people slathering various sauces on the ribs to bring them back to life. Most of these sauces are fruity and sweet, and the red fruit flavours in Montepulciano d’Abruzzo can handle these sweeter sauces. For Korean or Asian style sauces, which contain a lot of sesame, soy or garlic, the earthiness of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo makes for a fitting pair as it complements the flavours of those ingredients.

Spare Ribs are often served over rice, buttered noodles, or mashed potatoes, and Montepulciano’s mid-bodied range is certain to complement all these starches without overpowering their flavours as well.

If you are a beginner in learning how to cook Spare Ribs, Montepulciano makes for a great wine to experiment with, as you are probably also out there cooking other dishes like lamb kebabs, grilled meats or brisket, all of which Montepulciano pairs up well with. As your cooking skills improve and you become more familiar with what makes Montepulciano such a bargain-packed wine, you’ll naturally want to try other red wines. However, for a beginner, sinking $10 into a bottle of wine to play around with, Montepulciano offers fantastic value!

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo FAQ

What Kind of Wine is Montepulciano d’Abruzzo?

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is an Italian red wine from the Abruzzi region, and it is a fleshy and rich with inky dark fruit flavours and earthy with notes of leather, licorice, olives, spice and black pepper. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane DOCG must contain 85% Montepulciano, with the remainder being Sangiovese if the winemaker chooses so.

Should I decant Montepulciano d’Abruzzo?

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is often drank fresh and young after about two to three years.  The wine also does not feature strong tannin that need softening.  Thus, in most instances, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo does not require any decanting.  With that said, it wouldn’t hurt to decant Montepulciano d’Abruzzo either, and one-hour of decanting should be more than enough to allow the wine to breath.

What is the Best Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Notable producers of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo include Folonari, Caroso, Farnese, Umani, Ronchi Valentini and Illuminati. The majority of Montepulciano is meant to be drank young, so expect to pay $7-$25 for a bottle.