The workhorse reputation of the Montepulciano grape and the confusion of Trebbiano d'Abruzzo with its boring Tuscan cousin have done this region no favours, says Stephen Brook. But seek out the best producers of these and other indigenous varieties and you’ll be pleasantly surprised...
Brook’s top Abruzzo wines
Masciarelli, Villa Gemma, Montepulciano 2006
Muted oaky nose, black cherries and chocolate. Very concentrated with spicy cherry fruit, good acidity, and balsamic and chocolatey nuances. Powerful balanced and very long.
Price: £49.99 AG Wines
Torre dei Beati, Mazzamurello, Montepulciano 2007
Slightly gamey black fruit nose. Compact, spicy and very concentrated, with black cherry, suave texture and good length.
Price: £28.95 Handford
Villa Medoro, Rosso del Duca, Montepulciano 2010
Very ripe plum and menthol nose. Rich fruit but cut by fine acidity that gives tension and finesse. Well-integrated oak and a long, invigorating finish.
Price: £14 Genesis
Illuminati, Zanna, Montepulciano Colline Teramane Riserva 2008
Rich sour cherry and damson nose. Creamy, full bodied, with depth of flavour and lots of spice. Slightly dry finish but not too tannic.
Price: £15.79 (2007) London Wine Deliveries
Agriverde, Solàrea, Montepulciano 2009
Rich, plummy nose. Dense and quite tannic on the palate, but this wine has lovely, lively acidity and is still taut and youthful. Peppery and long.
Price: £18.50 Vinissimo
Cataldi Madonna, Malandrino, Montepulciano 2010
Ripe cherry and menthol nose. Quite full bodied yet no heavyweight, this is fresh, intense and stylish, with good acidity and length.
Price: £19.99 AG Wines
Nicodemi, Notari, Montepulciano 2010
Ripe but elegant plummy nose, with a touch of vanilla. Concentrated and full-bodied, with a svelte texture and moderate tannins. Long, with fine acidity on the finish.
Price: £14.99 (2008) Cadman
Tiberio, Fonte Canale, Trebbiano 2012
Ripe apricot nose. Rich, textured and concentrated but has fresh acidity, and a bitter lemon twist on the long, citric finish.
Price: N/A UK tiberiowine.com
Valentini, Trebbiano 2004
Spicy, leesy, apricot nose. Full bodied and weightier than the nose suggests, with good extract and moderate acidity. Quite long.
Price: £67.20 Fine & Rare
Cantina Tollo, Terre di Chieti, Pecorino 2012
Vintners apricot and melon nose. Fine attack, fresh, citrus and passion fruit flavours; long, with a tangy finish.
Price: £20 Yorkshire Vintners
Talamonti, Tre Saggi, Montepulciano 2010
Spicy cherry and blueberry nose. Suave and fleshy, but an easygoing style with light tannins and fresh acidity. Modern style, balanced and long.
Price: £12.70–£12.99 Penistone, Wined Up Here