Home Winners > Winners 2020 > Central - Red (including Montepulciano d’Abruzzo)

Winner Details

Central - Red
(including Montepulciano d’Abruzzo)

Central Italy isn’t necessarily the sexiest of regions in this competition, but on the plus-side it can – and often does – provide real vinous gems at affordable prices.

The reds were markedly less good this year. There was only one Gold and tasters generally bemoaned both the inconsistency and the not-always-useable pricing.

But the whites were far better. Pecorino and Verdicchio, in particular, attracted a lot of praise for their balance, food-friendliness and value for money. These are wines that are fresh, elegant, gastronomic and still allow for a good mark-up.

From The Tasting Teams

‘The best Pecorinos had the perfect balance between floral notes, fruit and acidity. I think these are really useful for a wine list, and the prices were good too.’ Gianluca Provenzani, Belmond Cadogan Hotel

‘If the reds are well made they’re a joy, but the price tags of some of them were expecting a lot from the UK market at this current time.’ Antóin UáRuairc, UK Midland Sommelier

‘We didn’t have anything [in the Verdicchio flight] that was over-extracted, or with overuse of oak. Everything was balanced, with citrus and mineral notes. A very good flight.’ Laurent Richet MS, team leader

‘Quite a few of the central whites had a pleasant bitterness, with really good, engaging aromatics, making them very food friendly, especially for Mediterranean food. That’s where these wines can really shine.’ Jan Konetzki, team leader

‘The reds were all over the place. We saw lots of extracted wines with huge tannins and a huge amount of fruit, sometimes with complete disregard for grape variety or terroir.’ Olivier Gasselin, OenoTrade

‘Verdicchio was a really strong flight. We had different styles, from old-school, super-concentrated, herbaceous and nutty wines that are quite gastronomic, and then the lighter, fresher styles around £7 and £8 that work for bistro-style venues.’ Sam Weatherill, Etch. by Steven Edwards

‘I can see Pecorino working for people wanting an alternative to something like Picpoul, because it has that high acidity and freshness.’ Tom Forrest, team leader

‘Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is the sort of wine that’s the second on a gastropub list.’ Stephanie Robertson, RA Group

‘Verdicchio is a more grown-up style of wine, that needs food. You’re probably looking at about £40-£50 on a list for these, and you could definitely find good examples for that price point here.’ Dave Cushley, Prestonfield House

‘I was expecting light, mineral, citrus wines, but also found a lot that were complex and creamy and nutty. It’s nice to see this experimentation.’ Elisa Soggia, Trivet

Award winners

Found 22 wines

Italy: Central, including Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Umberto Cesari, Liano, Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon Rubicone 2017, Emilia Romagna, Italy

Gold medal winner

'An excellent wine with great complexity, showing blackberry, plum, tobacco and herbal notes, leading to juicy tannins and a full-bodied texture, with a long and complex finish. There's potential for ageing here.' Sara Rossi, Trinity Restaurant. 'With sweet baking spice over dark plum juice, this has excellent velvet tannins and coffee notes on the finish, with leather and tobacco notes too.' James Fryer, team leader.

£22.54 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Paolo e Noemia d'Amico, Atlante, Cabernet Franc 2013, Umbria, Italy

Silver medal winner

'A developed wine with savoury, leathery notes as well as chocolate and dark jammy fruit, yet with fresh acidity too.' Lucie Hammerschmiedova, Portland Restaurant. 'Pleasant and different, with sweet and sour notes, this is juicy and refreshing, with an intense floral character.' Olivier Gasselin, OenoTrade.

£32.00 Eurowines

Cantina Tollo , Mo, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Riserva 2015, Abruzzo, Italy

Silver medal winner

'With a touch of violets, black fruit and spice, and a good level of ripeness, with good oak integration and plenty of balancing acidity, there’s approachability here without sacrificing the character.' Charlie Young, team leader. 'Great value for money, with a bit of age. This is in harmony, with some pleasant acidity and dry tannins.' Lionel Periner, team leader.

£11.30 Eurowines

Umberto Cesari, Tauleto, Sangiovese Rubicone 2013, Emilia Romagna, Italy

Silver medal winner

'Ripe, round and juicy, with big structure and dark fruits, mint and liquorice notes joined by some cassis and prunes.' Laurent Richet MS, team leader. 'Very robust and rich, with a plummy character, intensity and poise.' Olivier Gasselin, OenoTrade. 'Cocoa powder, dark chocolate, blackberries, tobacco and some bitter oak spices.' Elena Serban, Heritage Restaurant.

£39.60 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Cantine Minini, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2016, Abruzzo, Italy

Silver medal winner

' 'A herbal, lifted note, with crunchy fruit and a well-balanced palate that ultimately offers great value.' Anja Breit, abWINEconsulting. 'An interesting wine with aromas of blackberries and cherries - it would make a great house red for an Italian restaurant.' Cinthia Lozano, The Winery Honduras.

£6.86 Bibendum

Umani Ronchi, Pelago, Marche Rosso 2015, Marche, Italy

Silver medal winner

'Intense, well-balanced and full of flavour, with dried roses, raisins and prunes alongside chocolate and spices.' Lucie Hammerschmiedova, Portland Restaurant. 'Notes of liquorice, dark chocolate, peppermint and blackberries.' Elena Serban, Heritage Restaurant. 'The structure is massive, with lots of fruit behind it - great potential.' Laurent Richet MS, team leader.

£24.94 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Santa Barbara, Pathos, Marche Rosso 2017, Marche, Italy

Bronze medal winner

'Charming fruits at the forefront, like prune and plum, along with some vanilla and cinnamon. The fruit is on the ripe side, but still has good balance.' Laurent Richet MS, team leader. 'Juicy and delicious fruit, with crunchy tannins and a ripe, dense palate - this is quite complex and long.' Olivier Gasselin, OenoTrade.

£30.00 Delitalia

Casal Thaulero, Orsetto Oro, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2017, Abruzzo, Italy

Bronze medal winner

'Pungent and earthy on the nose, with notes of potting soil and rose petal, with fresh cranberry too, and with sandy tannins giving a firm grip lifted by the acidity.' Tim Handley, Royal Automobile Club. 'Vibrant red berries and blackberries on the nose, with flavours of cherries, liquorice and a mix of spices, and smooth and velvety tannins.' Cinthia Lozano, The Winery Honduras.

£10.49 Alivini

Casata Mergè, Roma, Classico Rosso 2018, Lazio, Italy

Bronze medal winner

'Gamey, with dried Mediterranean herbs and garrigue as well as vanilla and an inky oak and smoke note. This is fresh and rustic, with grippy tannins.' Jan Konetzki, team leader. 'Nicely balanced, with sweet spice, cloves, red fruit, chocolate and a floral note.' Lucie Hammerschmiedova, Portland Restaurant.

£14.38 Casata Mergè

Monte Schiavo, Caccialepre Rosso Piceno, Tenute Pieralisi 2016, Marche, Italy

Bronze medal winner

'Rustic and charming, with black olive, leather and balsamic notes, and high acidity.' Jan Konetzki, team leader. 'Ripe red fruit aromas join an earthiness, as well as a smoky bacon and black pepper note, with silky tannins. Great for a gastropub wine list.' Sara Rossi, Trinity Restaurant.

£9.80 Boutinot

Moncaro, Nerone, Conero Riserva 2015, Marche, Italy

Bronze medal winner

'Extremely ripe fruits, like prunes and plums, yet balanced with good structure, and with additional notes of black tea, cedar and cinnamon.' Laurent Richet MS, team leader. 'Rich, supple and modern, with aromas of cherries in brandy and dark chocolate, and juicy, ripe tannins.' Olivier Gasselin, OenoTrade.

£29.95 Eurowines

Lungarotti, Rubesco Vigna Monticchio, Torgiano Rosso Riserva 2013, Umbria, Italy

Commended medal winner

£29.05 Eurowines

Lungarotti, Montefalco Sagrantino 2016, Umbria, Italy

Commended medal winner

£21.40 Eurowines

Cantina Tollo , Aldiano Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Riserva 2016, Abruzzo, Italy

Commended medal winner

£10.80 Eurowines

Santa Barbara, Mossone, Merlot 2017, Marche, Italy

Commended medal winner

£36.00 Delitalia

Talamonti, Modà, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2019, Abruzzo, Italy

Commended medal winner

£7.99 VinumTerra

Talamonti, Tre Saggi, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2017, Abruzzo, Italy

Commended medal winner

£10.98 VinumTerra

Marotti Campi, Orgiolo, Lacrima di Morro d'Alba, Superiore 2017, Marche, Italy

Commended medal winner

£12.24 Bibendum

Vini Valori, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2016, Abruzzo, Italy

Commended medal winner

£10.94 Bibendum

Poderi dal Nespoli, Prugneto, Sangiovese di Romagna Superiore 2017, Emilia Romagna, Italy

Commended medal winner

£10.64 Bibendum

Umani Ronchi, Cùmaro, Conero Riserva 2015, Marche, Italy

Commended medal winner

Mullin Estate Wines, Sangiovese 2016, Umbria, Italy

Commended medal winner