You see Montepulciano is two things, it's the name of a grape varietal and the name of a small town in Western Italy's Tuscany region. Direct translation of each of these wines is the key to remembering the difference between these wines.
Montepulciano d' Abruzzo = Montepulciano from Abruzzi
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano = Noble wine from Montepulciano
Can you spot the difference?
AbruzziMontepulciano d' Abruzzo (D.O.C.) is refering to the grape varietal "Montepulciano" which in this case is being grown in Italy's Abruzzi region. The grape variety Montepulciano is capable of creating deeply colored, rich red wines with impressive blackberry fruit, and spicy peppery qualities. The varietal is thought to be indigenous to the Abruzzi region but is also grown in other regions and is the base for other wines in Italy. For example Rosso Conero (D.O.C.) from the Marches region and Cerveteri and Velletri (D.O.C.) from the Latium region.
MontepulcianoVino Nobile di Montepulciano (DOCG) is a wine that is made in the hilly area around the town of Montepulciano, southwest of Siena in the eastern portion of Italy's Tuscany Region. The designated area is actually situated inside the large Chianti subzone of Colli Senesi. It's also important to note that Vino Nobile di Montepulciano was the very first DOCG in Italy. (First vintage in 1983). Vino Nobile wines are made from a minimum of 70% Sangiovese, 10-20% Canaiolo, and up to 20% of other varietals. (no more than 10% white grapes).