Has Montepulciano gone out of fashion for good?—

Is there a black hole with an unquenchable thirst for Montepulciano d’Abruzzo? Or has it tumbled out of fashion for good? Where it once rampaged across the wine lists of Italian restaurants, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo seems to have taken early retirement.

But look more closely and there are bargains aplenty – you can spend just £3.99 on Lidl’s Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (13%). Spend a little more and you’ll find reds that show why this grape has always been so popular. Montepulciano is a grape that produces cherry-like reds, generally good for drinking young – especially tasty when paired with tomato pasta sauces. Be warned when scouring restaurant wine lists, though: this wine has nothing to do with Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which is Tuscan Sangiovese and considerably pricier.

OLLY’S PICK OF THE BUNCH

LA DOLCE VINO: The Society’s Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2017 (13.5%) £7.25 The Wine Society. Fragrant and firm. Decant this keenly priced red to impress dinner guests.

PASTA MASTER: Adnams Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC 2017 (13%) £7.49 adnams.co.uk. Sleek, cherry-ish refreshment. Spot on for a weeknight tomato pasta.

THAT’S AMORÉ: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Masciarelli 2016 (13%) £9.99* Majestic. Plenty of juicy lip-smackery here. Get your smokey bacon garlic pasta sauce on! *Mix Six Price.

MAMMA MIA!: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Terre dei Verstini, Col del Mondo, Tenuta del Priore 2015 (14%) £14.50 tanners-wines.co.uk. Serious, hearty and full flavoured.

WINE OF THE WEEK

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Il Rocolo Natale Verga Abruzzo 2017 (12.5%) £9.50 bbr.com. Vibrant as a bell made of cherries, this is a juicy, resonant and fabulous red.

This column was originally published in EVENT Magazine, Mail on Sunday, 10th March 2019

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