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Home Winners > Winners 2017 > ITALY: Central reds, including Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Winner Details

Italy: Central - Red, including Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

2017 Gold: 4 Silver: 6 Bronze: 3 Commended: 13
2016 Gold: 3 Silver: 6 Bronze: 4 Commended: 7

If there’s one area of Italy that you’d think absolutely HAS to be able to produce good-value wines, it’s here, what with no big appellations to shout about and a grape variety (Montepulciano) that has a ‘cheap and cheerful’ reputation for the most part.

Well, the good news is that, atypically for Italy, we had plenty of decent-priced medals; the bad news is that only one – the rather good Il Faggio – made the step up to Gold status. Plus our tasters had to weed out an awful lot of nasty stuff to get there. A solid rather than inspiring performance.

 
FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘There are people in less prestigious parts of Italy and they end up with a “cleavage” wine or a “six-pack” wine – just trying too hard. Nothing that was confident in being what it’s supposed to be.’ Simon Woods, team leader

‘The tannins were all over the place.  A very difficult flight.’ Charles Van Wyk, FJB Hotels

‘There was lots of winemaking – and they shouldn’t need to over-complicate the winemaking in this region.’ Andre Luis Martins, Cavalry & Guards Club

‘When it comes to Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, the overall feeling is the less oak, the better. It’s got enough freshness and vibrancy to stand out without needing tannins from new oak.’ Andrea Briccarello, team leader

‘They’re all trying too hard to make big brutish wines.’ Neil Tabraham, Paris House

‘I wanted expressive fruit, some sense of ripeness and that slightly rustic note, not complexity necessarily. I had high expectations in terms of accessible, ready-to-drink wines, but overall they lacked charm.’ Martin Lam, team leader

‘A Montepulciano for £30? Not at my place – I wouldn’t be able to sell it.’ Rustem Mingaleev, Bovey Castle

Award winners

Found 26 wines

Italy: Central reds, including Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Fontefico, Costetoste, Aglianico 2011, Abruzzo, Italy

Gold medal winner

Cavalry & Guards Club’s Andre Luis Martins liked this savoury Gold Lister’s ‘rich dark cherry and dark olive aromas, then a palate of sour cherry, a powerful meaty body yet elegant on the finish’, with team leader Annette Scarfe MW highlighting ‘lots of creamy vanilla oak on the nose, quite an ambitious wine but showing good traditional winemaking’. Simon Cassina of Winexponent was impressed with its ‘savoury style and pronounced palate packed with mature black berry fruit and tertiary complexity, a serious style’. ‘A match for fillet of venison with port sauce,’ concluded consultant sommelier Emily Bonsor.

£17.73 Matthew Clark

La Valentina, Spelt, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2012, Abruzzo, Italy

Gold medal winner

A ‘modern and vibrant style’, according to team leader Andrea Briccarello, who felt this Gold winner was ‘showing purity of blueberry and cranberry fruit, good tannins and balanced length’, while Jacopo Mazzeo of The Pig Hotel (Brockenhurst) found ‘freshness, with a little ageing, and there are some notes of coffee in with the dark berries on the palate’. Elly Owen of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall appreciated ‘red cherries, herbs and good oak, making this a great wine for lamb and hearty stews’.

£15.10 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Il Faggio, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2015, Abruzzo, Italy

Gold medal winner

A lifted, fruit-forward style and great value for money propelled this to Gold, with team leader Andrea Briccarello describing a ‘clean style with good berry character – juicy on the palate, easy-drinking sour cherry fruit with notes of plum’. Corin Ireland of Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms noted ‘good acidity, fresh red cherry and a little herbal note with some tomato character’, while Vinoteca’s Charlie Young thought it ‘juicy, fresh and textured, with a good balance between fleshy ripeness and dryness’.

£6.70 Liberty Wines

Umani Ronchi, Fonte del Re, Lacrima di Morro d'Alba 2015, Marche, Italy

Gold medal winner

A fruity, floral style that left an impression on our judges, and earned this Gold. Neil Tabraham of Paris House noted an ‘aromatic nose of rose water, Turkish Delight and cranberry fruit, then light on the palate with powerful tannins’, while team leader Simon Woods found ‘delicate floral aromas, yet power and fruit on the palate with rose petals, tight tannins, but the gentle berry fruit is in balance’. Team leader Annette Scarfe MW appreciated ‘structured tannins giving texture and body’, while consultant sommelier Emily Bonsor recommended it be paired with melanzane parmigiana.

£11.59 Enotria&Coe

Cantina Tollo, Colle Secco, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2013, Abruzzo, Italy

Silver medal winner

Jacopo Mazzeo of The Pig Hotel (Brockenhurst) highlighted ‘some ageing and a grippy palate, but it retains freshness with some complexity on the palate’, and team leader Andrea Briccarello found ‘fruity savoury notes on the nose, good tannin structure and complexity on a vibrant palate with sour cherry and plum notes’.

£8.18 Eurowines

Cantina Tollo, Cagiòlo, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Riserva 2012, Abruzzo, Italy

Silver medal winner

Team leader Lionel Periner found ‘forest fruit aromas and a hint of spice, full-bodied palate with plenty of acidity’, and fellow team leader Andrea Briccarello though that it ‘needs ageing or decanting, but is showing smoked fruits and savoury complexity, lots of extraction and concentration with intense oak notes and grippy tannins’.

£15.80 Eurowines

Santa Barbara, Mossone 2014, Marche, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘A serious wine with jammy red and black fruit on the nose, ripe but structured tannins with a complex and layered mid-palate,’ said team leader Annette Scarfe MW, with Plateau’s Federico Forte noting ‘plum and cherry, wood and green pepper leafy notes, showing ageing potential or decant to drink now’.

£51.50 Delitalia

Antonio Castelnuovo, Riccio Nero, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Riserva 2009, Abruzzo, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘A hint of gamey character and sweet spices, a little floral on the finish with smooth texture and balanced tannins,’ said Corin Ireland of Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms, with Jacopo Mazzeo of The Pig Hotel (Brockenhurst) noting: ‘Rich body and colour, still firm tannins with dark berry fruit richness and light roasted notes.’

£11.17 antonio castelnuovo wines

Contesa, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2015, Abruzzo, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘Berries and dark fruit on the nose with light floral hints,’ began team leader Lionel Periner, who enjoyed its ‘depth of fruit flavours, smooth tannin and well-integrated oak finishing dry and long with spicy notes’.

£8.70 Boutinot

Colonnara, Lacrima di Morro d'Alba 2015, Marche, Italy

Silver medal winner

Andre Luis Martins of the Cavalry & Guards Club found ‘perfumed rose and floral aromas, sour cherry with fresh character on the palate and an elegant finish’, while Simon Cassina of Winexponent picked up ‘balsamic notes and hints of orange peel on the nose, blackcurrant and sweet cinnamon spices, though it’s light on the palate’.

£9.65 Alivini

Monte Schiavo, Alberto Serenelli, Rosso Conero 2013, Marche, Italy

Bronze medal winner

‘Classic bitter cherries with chalky tannins and savoury notes, with fresh, vibrant acidity,’ said team leader Annette Scarfe MW, with Simon Cassina of Winexponent adding: ‘Savoury and tannic, but so packed with fruit intensity and sense of its origins.’

£7.39 Boutinot

Napolini, Rosso, Montefalco 2013, Umbria, Italy

Bronze medal winner

‘Light yet meaty aromas on the nose, aromatic in style with incense spice notes, an interesting wine with grainy tannins and a long finish,’ said Neil Tabraham of Paris House.

£8.78 Matthew Clark

Perticaia, Montefalco Rosso 2013, Umbria, Italy

Bronze medal winner

This was ‘a lovely expression of Sangiovese’ for team leader Annette Scarfe MW, who found ‘chalky tannins with bitter red cherry fruit, subtle and appealing’. Federico Forte of Plateau felt it was ‘very pleasant, showing good balance between fruitiness, acidity and body, and versatile with many foods’.

£14.00 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Paolo e Noemia d'Amico, Villa Tirrena 2012, Lazio, Italy

Commended medal winner

£13.30 Eurowines

Paolo e Noemia d'Amico, Notturno dei Calanchi 2012, Umbria, Italy

Commended medal winner

£26.23 Eurowines

Botter, Fontana d'Italia, Sangiovese, Rubicone 2016, Emilia Romagna, Italy

Commended medal winner

£6.58 Molson Coors

Cantina Tollo, Mo, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Riserva 2012, Abruzzo , Italy

Commended medal winner

£11.50 Eurowines

Antonio Castelnuovo, Riccio Rosso, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2012, Abruzzo, Italy

Commended medal winner

Orsogna, Nican, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2009, Abruzzo, Italy

Commended medal winner

Lunaria, Ruminat 2016, Abruzzo, Italy

Commended medal winner

Poderi dal Nespoli, Prugneto, Sangiovese di Romagna Superiore 2015, Emilia Romagna , Italy

Commended medal winner

£9.51 Bibendum

Orsogna, Nican, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2008, Abruzzo, Italy

Commended medal winner

Fontefico, Montepulciano d"Abruzzo 2013, Abuzzo , Italy

Commended medal winner

£11.95 Matthew Clark

Luretta, Achab, Organic, Pinot Nero, Colli Piacentini 2013, Emilia Romagna, Italy

Commended medal winner

£27.61 Alivini

Luretta, Organic, Colli Piacentini Gutturnio Superiore 2013, Emilia Romagna, Italy

Commended medal winner

£14.51 Alivini

Umani Ronchi, Pelago 2012, Marche, Italy

Commended medal winner

£24.02 Enotria&Coe

 

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