Home Winners > Winners 2018 > ITALY: Central reds, including Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Winner Details

Italy: Central - Red, including Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

2018 Gold 3        Silver 7                Bronze 5             Commended 9
2017 Gold 4        Silver 6                Bronze 3              Commended 7 

Red fruit, cheerful rusticity and good pricing. Those would be the watchwords for this part of Italy when it comes to red wines. This year our tasters found two out of three. Guess which was missing? Of course: value. This is Italy after all.

To be fair, the Montepulciano d’Abruzzos weren’t too bad – more than half the medals were priced below £10, which is amazing for Italy – but overall this area wasn’t the rich gastropub hunting ground that it has been in the past.

There were ‘modern’ and ‘traditional’ styles to go at, and while our teams could see a use for both, it’s probably fair to say that they generally preferred the latter.


‘The Umbrians were quite interesting. They were bolder, more masculine, and with more substance. They’re practically useful wines, and were good prices for the quality.’ Christoph Hons, Park Chinois

‘You come to the conclusion here that there are two worlds – that of the traditionalist, and that of the modernist. And you need both styles on your list.’ Chris Delalonde MS, Bleeding Heart Group

‘This part of Italy has been a stalwart of the lower end of the list. It was disappointing not to see more value.’ James Fryer, Woodhead 17

‘From Montepulciano d’Abruzzo I look for deep red to black fruit, some spices from oak ageing, deepness of colour, but with acidity to balance everything. It doesn’t need to be complex, just a bit of fruitiness and spiciness – that’s the classic style.’ Davide Dall’Amico, Royal Automobile Club

‘There weren’t that many cheap wines – I was expecting more at the by-the-glass level – most were £10 and over, though when they were good I enjoyed them. The more successful ones were more authentic and less international. They can have a bit of rusticity – that can be a good thing.’ Hamish Anderson, Tate Catering

Award winners

Found 24 wines

Italy: Central, including Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Paolo e Noemia d'Amico, Atlante, Cabernet Franc 2014, Umbria, Italy

Gold medal winner

A second Umbrian Gold in this category, and Bleeding Heart Group’s Chris Delalonde MS felt its ‘leafy capsicum, slightly stalky but dark, ripe, plummy fruit and spices on the nose’ led to an ‘elegant delivery with complex mid-palate and a wide range of fruit tones and spice notes on a balanced and classy palate, and earthy on the finish’. ‘Very aromatic and good mineral, fresh aromas, with nice red fruits and juicy character, and balanced tannins and acid,’ agreed Christoph Hons of Park Chinois.

£31.90 Eurowines

Cantina Tollo, Mo, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Riserva 2013, Abruzzo, Italy

Gold medal winner

Michael Moore of The London Cookhouse was among this Gold Lister’s many admirers, enjoying its ‘great depth and subtlety’ and considering it ‘good for grilled foods and may I say barbecue as well’, while Kai Mayfair’s Elisa Soggia was a fan of its ‘woody, cedar aromas, cinnamon and black plum, tobacco and jam with good, balanced tannins and body’. ‘Smoke, black olive, crushed stone fruits with a nice balance of benign savoury bitter notes, semi-dried dark berries and mocha,’ added team leader Angela Reddin.

£11.50 Eurowines

Cantina Goccia, Nesso 2009, Umbria, Italy

Gold medal winner

Manuel Ribeiro of The Bybrook at The Manor House Hotel was enchanted by this Gold Lister’s ‘very complex nose with berry and tobacco aromas, spicy chocolate and toasty notes’, and thought it had ‘a balanced palate and smooth tannin, for drinking now’. Team leader Lionel Periner agreed, noting ‘elegant, complex, floral cooked berry aromas with a hint of smoke, complex and full-bodied on the palate with oak well balanced and floral hints on a long finish’.

£16.50 Cantina Goccia

Casal Thaulero, Orsetto Oro, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2015, Abruzzo, Italy

Silver medal winner

This had a ‘big, plush’ nose, said team leader Simon Woods, who liked its ‘ripe, raisiny notes, berry and fig with a warm, juicy palate, spice hints and nice texture that’s fleshy and balanced’.

£9.87 Alivini

Colle Corviano, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2017, Abruzzo, Italy

Silver medal winner

Full of ‘fresh plum with gentle, fresh tea leaves, ripe cassis with pepper and tobacco leaf notes’, said Andre Luis Martins of Cavalry & Guards Club, while Royal Automobile Club’s Davide Dall’Amico found it ‘more spicy than fruity, with notes of red fruit, coconut, vanilla, chocolate and liquorice’.


Cantina Goccia, Pnero 2012, Umbria, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘With sunshine richness of fruit and structured tannin, you could almost think it was Australian,’ began consultant Charles Pashby-Taylor, with team leader Annette Scarfe MW noting ‘good varietal typicity after a little air, with sweet, ripe cherry fruit flavours’.

£12.00 Cantina Goccia

Cantina Goccia, Nodo 2012, Umbria, Italy

Silver medal winner

A nose of ‘savoury plums, meat juices, dark berries, spices and tar’ stood out for Bleeding Heart Group’s Chris Delalonde MS, with ‘complexity and good depth, a fresh mid-palate and long finish with the emphasis on the savouriness’.

£11.50 Cantina Goccia

La Valentina, Spelt, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2014, Abruzzo, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘Fresh, pure, elegant nose, young but lovely balance here,’ began Tate Catering’s Hamish Anderson, who found it ‘classically structured, with spice, clove and plum on the palate, gravelly and complex on the finish’. ‘Great price for a very well-balanced wine with rich depth, clean nose and addictive taste,’ added Michael Moore of The London Cookhouse.

£16.51 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Santa Barbara, Mossone, Merlot 2015, Marche, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘Very rustic style with traditional winemaking,’ began team leader Annette Scarfe MW, who liked its ‘lovely core of fruit supported with dark butter, chocolate and spice notes’, while Matteo Furlan of The Ritz London found it ‘deep,dark and intense, with rich black fruit and liquorice, hints of dried herbs, gamey and tannic and spicy’. Double-decanting is advised, or more time in the cellar.

£51.50 Delitalia

Umberto Cesari, Liano, Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon, Rubicone 2015, Emilia Romagna, Italy

Silver medal winner

There were ‘fresh, dark cherries and blackberries on the nose’, began Gymkhana’s Valentin Radosav, followed by ‘juicy round tannins on a ripe, fruit-focused palate with fresh acidity’. Matteo Furlan of The Ritz London picked up ‘cranberry, black and blue berries, jammy ripeness and a lot of red fruit’, and found it ‘dusty and gamey, smoky and meaty on the palate’.

£21.99 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Lungarotti, Rubesco, Rosso di Torgiano 2013, Umbria, Italy

Bronze medal winner

Christoph Hons of Park Chinois found ‘very fragrant, sweet red fruits, ripe and full on the nose, followed by a meaty, bold character on the palate, fresh and crisp, lively and good value’, while Bleeding Heart Group’s Chris Delalonde MS liked its ‘berries and cherries, savouriness and chargrilled notes, fruit-forward style with spices notes, good weight and balanced delivery’.

£9.85 Eurowines

Cantina Villafranca, Roma, Rosso Riserva 2014, Lazio, Italy

Bronze medal winner

Matteo Furlan of The Ritz London found a ‘floral nose with black and red fruit on a good palate, with decent complexity’, while for team leader Annette Scarfe MW there was a ‘clean and fresh nose of redcurrants with a hint of spice, soft smooth tannins and a fresh finish’.

£10.50 Eurowines

Talamonti, Modà, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2017, Abruzzo, Italy

Bronze medal winner

Team leader Angela Reddin liked the ‘soft, juicy nose of plum and vanilla, light tannin and medium-low acidity’, making it a ‘fruit-forward and appealing style’ of wine, while Michael Moore of The London Cookhouse commented: ‘Rich chocolate, deep afternoon delight, love it!’

£7.46 VinumTerra

Lungarotti, Rubesco, Vigna Monticchio, Torgiano Rosso Riserva 2010, Umbria, Italy

Bronze medal winner

Team leader Annette Scarfe MW enjoyed this wine’s ‘lovely expression, with delicate red fruit and notes of liquorice and dark chocolate, followed by hints of bitter cherry with well-integrated oak’.

£28.90 Eurowines

Il Faggio, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2016, Abruzzo, Italy

Bronze medal winner

Royal Automobile Club’s Davide Dall’Amico liked this wine’s ‘red cherry, blackberry and black plum aromas, slight spicy notes of vanilla and liquorice in a simple, nice and juicy style’. Meanwhile Four Degree’s Jonathan Kleeman felt it was ‘clean and precise with a fresh finish, an easy-drinker to be enjoyed with friends’.

£6.61 Liberty Wines

Paolo e Noemia d'Amico, Notturno dei Calanchi, Pinot Nero 2013, Umbria, Italy

Commended medal winner

£27.35 Eurowines

Umberto Cesari, Sangiovese di Romagna Riserva 2015, Emilia Romagna, Italy

Commended medal winner

Orsogna, Nican 2009, Abruzzo, Italy

Commended medal winner

Orsogna, Malverno 2013, Abruzzo, Italy

Commended medal winner

iLauri, Le Pinciaie, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2015, Abruzzo, Italy

Commended medal winner

Gran Sasso, Alta Quota, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Colline Teramane 2011, Abruzzo, Italy

Commended medal winner

£13.49 Liberty Wines

Nicodemi, Le Murate, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Colline Teramane 2016, Abruzzo, Italy

Commended medal winner

£11.67 Wine Traders

Zero Puro, Mineraliae 2015, Abruzzo, Italy

Commended medal winner

Monte Schiavo, Tenute Pieralisi, Re di Ras, Rosso Piceno 2013, Marche, Italy

Commended medal winner

£15.00 Boutinot


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