As we move through central Italy, we are bound to hit a couple of small areas that aren't known for a variety of different things. Such is the case with the focus of today's writing- Abruzzi (or Abruzzo.) Located at the "back of the knee" on the Italian boot, Abruzzi would seem to be the perfect place to grow grapes. It is right on the Adriatic sea, it has a variety of different soils and topographies that call for grapes, it gets a ton of sunshine, and it has many little microclimates. However, we are getting into an area of Italy that is more rural, and has much less money than the Northern areas. As a result, the bulk of the wine that is grown in Abruzzi is the normal, everyday, uninspired table wine that you buy in plastic jugs at local markets. There is however one standout grape, and it happens to be a personal favorite. This would be Montepulciano D'Abruzzo. It is made from the Montepulciano grape (remember- don't confuse this with the Vino Nobile de Montepulciano, which is made in Tuscany out of sangiovese). The Montepulciano from (d') Abruzzi is a wonderful value, and probably one of the best "bang for the buck" wines from Italy. It is a medium weight red, with great dusty cherry, briar, blackberry, and mushroom notes to it. Another great thing about this wine is that it is relatively cheap. You can easily find examples for $10-15 retail.
That's about it for Abruzzi- short, I know. Next week, we will likely take a look at Puglia.
Since Montepulciano is about the only wine of note from Abruzzi, that's what I'm going to recommend. Check out the Cantina Tollo "Valle d'Oro" Montepulciano. You can buy it retail at Friar Tuck and Kayas, and they pour it buy the glass at Newstead Tower Public House (at the corner of Newstead and Manchester- killer place for burgers, too!)