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Montepulciano: Panel tasting results

Ever a reliable option when dining out, Montepulciano, the key red grape of Abruzzo offers satisfyingly versatile drinking, especially when its bright character is allowed to shine.

Jason Millar, Sara Bachiorri and Bruno Besa tasted 105 wines with 2 Outstanding and 32 Highly recommended.

Montepulciano: Panel tasting scores

105 wines tasted

Exceptional 0

Outstanding 2

Highly recommended 32

Recommended 60

Commended 8

Fair 2

Poor 2

Entry criteria: producers and UK agents were invited to submit their current-release vintages of Montepulciano red wines, with a minimum retail price of £9.99 or US$12

A staple of pizzerias across the land, Montepulciano is a grape variety that everyone knows but few love. Despite being the second most-planted red grape in Italy, it has struggled to be taken as anything other than good-value ‘house wine’.

This panel tasting focused on Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and showed encouraging signs of progress in recent vintages. It also made it clear that picking a premium Montepulciano can be a lottery, with little evident territorial definition and the range of styles wide.

Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores from the Montepulciano panel tasting

Montepulciano panel tasting scores

Wines were tasted blind

The judges

Jason Millar is a freelance wine writer, consultant, judge and communicator, with a focus on South Africa and Italy. He was formerly buyer and director at retailer Theatre of Wine, and in 2016 was the top WSET Diploma graduate worldwide.

Sara Bachiorri is in the buying team at merchant WoodWinters. A DWWA judge, she was formerly head sommelier at The Glasshouse in Kew then Chez Bruce in London, followed by a stint at Italian specialist merchant FortyFive10°.

Bruno Besa is founder and managing director of specialist wine importer Astrum Wine Cellars. A DWWA judge, he is originally from Friuli in northeast Italy, and was formerly a sommelier at the Dorchester Collection in London.

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