The Wine Roads

The story of Vino Nobile

The origins of Vino Nobile of Montepulciano are really old and strictly connected to the history of Montepulciano, the presence of wine cellars, that are perfectly integrated to the city centre, are the strong and important evidence. The commercial history of the town, found in the big quantity of documents and news in the archives of Poliziano, marks that already in 1350 there were laws that the commerce and the export of the wine Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. In the second half of 500, pope Paolo III extolled the miracolous quality of Vino Nobile.
Francesco Redi in his work "Bacco in Toscana" defined him "D'ogni vino il Re" and in the second half of 700 the wine of Montepulciano, was described and named as "Nobile", evident sign of the high quality of its production. The reputation of Vino Nobile went beyond Italy, Voltaire wrote about it in its famous "Candido", without counting the USA presidents Martin Van Buren and Thomas Jefferson.

"The wine road Vino Nobile di Montepulciano"

"The association Strada del Vino Nobile di Montepulciano" was founded on 8th April 1998, with the aim of valuing and tuteling the complessive image of the territory of Montepulciano, territory devoted to the wine production, but also rich, for its long history, in traditions of great cultural importance. The wine road presents the offers of its territory, culture, its typical productive traditions, its naturalistic, cultural and historical attractiveness..
The wine road of Montepulciano permitts you to discover churches, monuments, villages, turistic and thermal stations of high quality. The "Strada del Vino Nobile" and its information centre are located in Capitano del Popolo palace, a building already famous for its historical and architectural importance, situated in the beautiful Piazza Grande. The information centre is easily accessible; its centre gives you all the information about the territory of Montepulciano.

The great Tuscan wine in the historic cellar of Abbadia Ardenga.

When wine enthusiasts start talking about Tuscany's Brunello di Montalcino, one of the world's most famous wines, the conversation takes on a mystical tone. Brunello production is centered around the medieval hilltop town of Montalcino, where both the climate and the composition of the terrain are particularly favorable. This extraordinary wine is obtained from the Sangiovese vine and is left to mature at length in oak barrels. A visit to the area, which for wine lovers is tantamount to a form of pilgrimage, is one in which the history, culture and evolution of Tuscan wine-making entwine.
A truly unique experience awaits those visiting Torrenieri's Abbazia Ardenga, located at the center of an area in which the medieval towns of Buonconvento, San Giovanni d'Asso, San Quirico d'Orcia and Montalcino are situated. Here, wine lovers expecting to tour a farm with vineyards and cellars will, instead, find themselves in front of an ancient abbey the origins of which date back to the year 1000. Inside the Church of S. Andrea, recent restoration of the seven naved crypt, revealed the traces of wall paintings considered to be the only of their kind in the province of Siena. The Ardenga Abbey has been the property of the Società di Esecutori di Pie Disposizioni di Siena, since the early 1700's.
The Abbadia Ardenga estate extends over 650 hectares of land, only ten of which are used for the cultivation of the Sangiovese grapes and which produce circa 40,000 bottles of Brunello di Montalcino Vigna, Rosso di Montalcino and Ardengo Rosso. Although it would be possible to increase the yield considerably, the decision has been made to limit production to 6000 kilos of grapes per hectare, (much lower than the 7000kilos established by the Brunello production disciplinary). Wine has been produced in the area for centuries and as early as 1902 the Abbadia Ardenga was awarded a prize as best wine exporter.
Today, the old cellar has been transformed into a museum included in the Val d'Orcia Park circuit. The cellar museum is managed by Mario Ciacci who, in 1967, began supervising its restoration. Ciacci introduces visitors to the world of Brunello, from the vines to the techniques of vinification. This journey exploring one of Tuscany's finest wines is made all the more appealing by the visit to the museum, in which a fascinating collection of ancient farming tools is displayed. Amidst massive arches and columns, wells and underground passages, in the heart of the cellar there is a caveau in which a precious collection of rare vintages is conserved, including a priceless 1955 Brunello. On request, visits include tastings of Brunello wines accompanied by typical gastronomic products.

The Tuscia Wine Road

Due to the characteristics of the land and the long exposure to sun rays throughout the year, the Tuscia is a suitable area for the production of quality wines. Its long oenological tradition acquired during the course of centuries has recently brought to the creation of an aeno-gastronomic initerary the Strada dei Vini della Tuscia that covers the areas of local production.
The Viterbo region boasts six quality wines:

  • EST! EST!! EST!!! of Montefiascone, which comes from selected vineyards that spread across tufaceous grounds around the lake of Bolsena;
  • the ALEATICO of Gradoli, which comes from red grapes on the slopes of Monti Volsini;
  • the ORVIETO, which is produced in the Valle del Tevere;
  • the VIGNANELLO, whose area of production is Monti Cimini;
  • the TARQUINIA, which comes from grapes cultivated along the coastal area.

Est! Est!! Est!!! of Montefiascone is a DOC wine that derives from a mixture of different grapes (Tuscan Trebbiano, White Trebbiano, White Tuscan Malvasia etc.) which grow on the tufaceous hills sorrounding the lake of Bolsena.
There are two types of EST! EST!! EST!!!, medium sweet and dry that reach a minimum alcoholic content of 11%.
Each year during the summer this wine is the most important one at the Wine Fair of Montefiascone.

Still on the slopes of the Volsinii hills grows the excellent Aleatico di Gradoli.
This is an “aromatic muscatel” DOC that can be produced from two different varieties of red grapes: the normal kind that reaches an alcoholic content of 12% and can mature in a bottle for up to three years, and the liqueur-like type (alcoholic content 17.5%) that is sweeter and more fragrant.
The best way to taste it is in occasion of the famous Pranzo del Purgatorio at Gradoli. It is a penance meal that is eaten every year on Ash Wednesday “in honour of the souls in Purgatory”.

Despite the fact that their names geographically refer to neighbouring areas of the province of Viterbo, there are two other DOC wines that are produced here.
The first is the Orvieto, produced at Castiglione in Teverina on the hills that define the border of the Tiber Valley, the second is the Cerveteri whose area of production stretches as far as Tarquinia.
The former is available also medium sweet and reaches a minimum alcoholic content of 11.5%.
The latter is available both red and white and reaches a minimum alcoholic content of 11.5%.
Another area of wine production is the Cimino Hills producing excellent red and white quality wines such as the Greco DOC, a refined white wine, with a persistent delicate fragrance, that reaches an alcoholic content of approx. 10%.