This year's winner of the Decanter World Wine Awards International Trophy for the Best in Show Red Italian Varietal Under £15 went to Barone di Valforte, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2011, Italy.
Barone di Valforte, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Italy 2011 (13.5%)
Floral, spice and dark berry nose, fruit-forward with plums over a structured palate of prunes and cherries with coffee beans, liquorice, chocolate and spice. Long fruity finish.
Not available in the UK
Tasted against • Michelino Veglio & Figli, Nebbiolo d’Alba, Piedmont, Italy 2011
Although this Trophy can be contested by Italian varieties grown anywhere in the world, this battle came down to a show-down between two eminent Italian regions. This year, Piedmont had to play second fiddle to its more southerly sister, and a property with an historic backstory.
The Sorricchio family has owned the baronial fiefdom of Valforte since the 14th century, a property of some 500ha in the Abruzzo region of central eastern Italy. In 2005, brothers Guido and Francesco Sorricchio established the Barone di Valforte brand for their wine production and currently cultivate 46ha of vineyards on their lands in the Teramo hills around the towns of Città Sant’Angelo and Silvi, both situated close to the Adriatic Sea near Pescara.
Production includes DOCG, DOC and IGT wines made from the red Montepulciano grape, and whites from Trebbiano, Pecorino and Passerina.
In contrast to many other Italian reds which can often be quite tannic, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is noted for its abundant fruitiness and supple finish. This Trophy winner is made without any oak ageing with its rich, plummy fruit and ripe, spicy character shining bright. Moreover, it’s great value, if not readily available.
Jane Hunt MW
Written by Decanter