Abruzzo has for a long time been Italy’s go to region for good value red wine. The draw is almost always Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, an often cheap and cheerful red wine made from the local Montepulciano grape. In the hills that descend from the eastern side of the Apennine Mountains towards the Adriatic Sea, the variety accumulates attractive flavours of forest fruits and ripe jam, while at the same time offering up soft but fleshy tannins.
Despite the reputation, there are a number of premium quality wines made from appellations that are rarely seen outside of Italy. The finest expression of Montepulciano comes from the Teramane hills and is labelled as Colline Teramane Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOCG. Wines such as Azienda Agricola Illuminati’s Zanni provide a great insight into the distinctive elements of terroir that lift the appellation above that of the standard Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Farnese’s ‘Opi’ Riserva is also a very worthy example.