Montepulciano [ˌmontepulˈtʃaːno] is a red Italian wine grape variety that is most noted for being the primary grape behind the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) wine Offida Rosso, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Colline Teramane (as well its larger DOC outside of Colline Teramane), Rosso Conero and the Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) wines Rosso Piceno Superiore.
It should not be confused with the similarly named Tuscan wine Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which is made from predominantly Sangiovese and is named for the village it is produced in, rather than for containing any Montepulciano grapes in the blend.
The grape is widely planted throughout central and southern Italy, most notably in Abruzzo, Latium, Marche, Molise, Umbria and Apulia, and is a permitted variety in DOC wines produced in 20 of Italy's 95 provinces. Montepulciano is rarely found in northern Italy because the grape has a tendency to ripen late and can be excessively "green" if harvested too early.
According to wine expert Jancis Robinson, the Montepulciano grape likely originated in Tuscany and may be related to the Sangiovese, with which it is often confused. Despite this possible origin, the Montepulciano grape still does not seem to have any tangible connection to the village of that name or to the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, beyond what Robinson describes as "linguistics". Furthermore, despite being widely planted throughout central Italy, the Montepulciano grape is not even grown in the vineyards around the village of Montepulciano.
After Sangiovese, Montepulciano is Italy's second most widely dispersed indigenous grape variety. It is a recommended planting in 20 of Italy's 95 provinces and is a permitted or required grape in the red wines of DOCs in Apulia, Molise, Latium, Umbria, Marche, Emilia-Romagna, Abruzzi and Tuscany. Among the DOCs that are most noted for Montepulciano are Montepulciano d'Abruzzo in Abruzzi, Offida Rosso DOCG, Rosso Conero and Rosso Piceno in Marche. Though it is a secondary variety to Uva di Troia in the Castel Del Monte DOC, according to wine expert Jancis Robinson the character that Montepulciano contributes to the blend as perhaps "its finest incarnation".