Cònero DOCG is red wine denomination from the Monte Cònero promontory in Le Marche, a region on the Adriatic coast of Italy. The Cònero DOCG name replaced what was previously the Rosso Cònero DOC Riserva category, whose last vintage was 2003 (Cònero DOCG and Rosso Cònero DOC share the same production area). Cònero DOCG is made from the same blend of 85-100% Montepulciano, with an optional 0-15% Sangiovese, as Rosso Cònero DOC. Sangiovese’s historic role was to lighten and add fruitiness to Montepulciano base wines whose often dense tannins could be austere from unripe pips, a consequence of over-generous yields. Gambero Rosso (2003, p.608) described ‘hard, over-assertive wines rendered almost undrinkable by gamey aromas and rugged tannins. (A book dating from 1812 by Abbott Geogofilo in the library of the Malacari winery suggests lower yields as a means of improving the wines in Ancona province.) Cònero DOCG can be released 2 years after harvest, starting from 01st November in the year of harvest.

The Monte Cònero promontory derives its name from the Greek name Κόμαρος and indicates the strawberry tree which is common on the slopes of the mountain. The Monte Cònero (572-metres) massif is described a secondary fold of the Apennines inserted into and thus interrupting the secondary continuity of the Adriatic coastline. Cònero is the only promontory (the Greeks called it an elbow) on the straight, flat Adriatic coast between Trieste in the north and the Gargano in Puglia to the south, a distance of some 107 miles (173 kms). The Adriatic is renowned for its shallow, sandy beaches. Here there is no sand, the coast is rocky and the soils (of which more below) suit red wine, as noted by Pliny the Elder (again, see below). Despite being so reliant on the Montepulciano grape, bottles of Cònero DOCG wine may not name the variety on the back label–so as not to penalise producers of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo in the Abruzzo region to the south.

Viticulture: Minimum vine density of 3,330 vines/ha for new vineyards.

Production: 2018 7,045hl (43 producers overall, 32 grape growers, 24 wine producers, 16 bottlers). 261,000 bottles. | 2017 8,148hl. 325,000 bottles. | 2016 8,648 hl. 379,000 bottles. | 2010 6,733hl. | 2009 6,070hl. | 2008 6,905hl. | 2007 6,446hl. | 2006 4,576hl.

Winemaking & Wine style: Ian D’Agata (2019, p.152) says that ‘in Le Marche’s limestone-rich Cònero area [the Montepulciano grape] can give massively structured wines of some interest,’ (Ian d’Agata, 2019, p.152). Although oak ageing is not mandatory for Conerò DOCG ‘Montepulciano ages well with oak in Cònero. This is not always the case for this region and style,’ (Ian D’Agata speaking at Collisioni in Le Marche on Friday 01st Sept 2017).

Wineries

Certified organic: Malacari. | Moroder.

No certification: Garofoli. |  Serenelli. | Strologo. | Umani Ronchi.

Bibliography

Attilio Scienza & Serena Imazio, Native Grape Odyssey Vol. 1, p.200 (Positive Press, 2019), p.199.

Burton Anderson, The Wine Atlas of Italy, Mitchell Beazley, 1990 p.173. 

Dr Ian d’Agata, Native Wine Grapes of Italy (University of California Press, 2014).

Dr Ian d’Agata, Native Wine Grape Terroirs (University of California Press, 2019).

Production data | 2006-2010 Federdoc as reported by I Numeri del Vino. 2016-2018 Valoritalia.