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The Best Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Wines to Drink Right Now

The Best Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Wines to Drink Right Now

The Italian region of Abruzzo—a rugged area on the Adriatic coast—is renowned for its juicy, fun Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, an accessible, everyday red that’s as easy on the wallet as it is on food pairings.  

Although the grape’s wild popularity didn’t always come with exceptional quality, it’s been a different story in recent years. Even better news, the region’s winemakers aren’t resting on their laurels (or their grapes, in this case). Montepulciano d’Abruzzo’s success has lured an influx of investment and interest in the region, which many producers have used as an opportunity to craft ever more complex wines that showcase the local terroir’s potential. 

You May Also Like: 14 White Wines From an Italian Region Known for Rich Reds

Below, find a guide to some of the best bottles coming into the U.S. market right now. These wines hit a variety of notes, spanning from ethereal, briny and floral to dense, earthy and brooding. 

Ciavolich 2017 Divus Montepulciano (Montepulciano d’Abruzzo)

There is a sense of possibility in Chiara Ciavolich’s wines and that’s not by chance. In both the vineyard and the cellar, she has proven herself a wizard—squeezing all that’s possible out of the indigenous grapes of her region. The Divus—ostensibly her simplest, cleanest expression—confirms just how acrobatic and long-lived Montepulciano can be. 

A heady mix of cherry jam, blackberry, peppery herbs, petrichor and mentholated tobacco show excellent depth and intensity on the nose. Aged in old barrels and barriques, this has a sultry texture on the palate, with plenty of fresh acidity and polished tannins lending support. There’s pureness to the fruit flavors that makes this utterly enjoyable. Enjoy now–2028. Editor’s Choice. 92 Points — Alexander Peartree

Finding Wine

Contesa 2020 Montepulciano (Montepulciano d’Abruzzo)

While no one should ever complain about a great wine and pizza pairing, the searing acid that Abruzzo’s Montepulciano can achieve alongside its tangy, iron-rich soil notes means that it can stand up to a lot more than a mere slice, as Contesa adeptly demonstrates in this ultimate best buy. 

This spicy red displays aromas of Sichuan peppercorn, blood orange peel and mentholated tobacco on the nose, with a solid core of black cherry and red plum. It’s polished and supple on the palate, with smooth tannins and pulsing acidity working in tandem to lend a firm webbing for the plump cherry and plum flavors to shine. Accents of orange peel and purple flowers lend levity, with a savory twang of granite on the close. 91 Points — A.P.

Chateau Cellars

De Fermo 2016 L.A. Concrete Montepulciano (Montepulciano d’Abruzzo)

Stefano de Fermo has become a point of reference for the region thanks to his bright, crisp wines. Standouts include bottles aged in concrete. The drinkability of de Fermo’s wines matches the relaxed confidence of their maker and their liveliness reflects production on a property abuzz with biodiversity. 

Vibrant, vivid aromas of perfectly ripe dark cherry, blackberry and cranberry are covered in a delicate dusting of wet limestone and fresh herbs on the nose. The palate is all about texture, walking a tightrope between penetrating, juicy lushness and powdered, stony grip. Editor’s Choice. 92 points. — A.P.

Saratoga Wine Exchange

Faraone 2016 Le Vigne di Faraone Montepulciano (Montepulciano d’Abruzzo)

We hate to repeat gossip, but the rumors that Faraone is the next Emidio Pepe—one of the finest makers in the region—might just be confirmed by a sip of the Vigna di Faraone Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. This bottle captures what makes all Abruzzese wine so special. It is as satisfying as it is intriguing.  

This well-balanced Montepulciano delivers ripe cherry and blackberry aromas perked up by crushed black pepper, menthol and cigar box accents. The pure berry flavors follow to the medium-bodied palate, where chopped mint lends an invigorating fresh lift to it all. Plush, juicy fruit and velvety tannins yield quite an enjoyable outcome. 90 Points — A.P.

Champion Wine Cellars

Idi di Marzo 2020 Amarne Family Selection Montepulciano (Montepulciano d’Abruzzo)

Famiglia de Cerchio plays with Abruzzo’s favorite grape in a few forms, but none of them seem to convince people quite as quickly and effectively as the Idi di Marzo Amarne. A classic but edgy expression, figuratively speaking, this bottle walks in wearing a Zegna suit and a Marinella tie. Then you notice a concert t-shirt peeking out and an arm full of tattoos under the jacket. Bring this to a party and get ready to become the life of it. 

The nose is alluringly floral and earthy, with notes of wild cherries, plums, wild fennel and fresh-tilled soil. On the palate, that interplay between fruit and earth continues, within a framework provided by polished but dense tannins and lively acid. Best Buy. 90 Points — Danielle Callegari

M&R Liquors

Torre dei Beati 2017 Mazzamurello Montepulciano (Montepulciano d’Abruzzo)

The cheekiness in the wines of Torre dei Beati feels purely Abruzzese. The bottles are thoughtful and careful reflections of their terroir and reflect a fun-loving spirit. Fausto Albanesi’s Mazzamurello is particularly adept at capturing this sensibility. It has a quiet, rustic depth set against a bouncy breeziness—something that makes this wine, which is made from very old vines, feel like a brand-new delight. 

This rich red delivers dense aromas of brandy-soaked berries, tobacco, cocoa powder and clove. It’s plush in texture, with succulent berry flavors that envelop the palate. Savory and sweet spices weave throughout, making for a cohesive whole. Firm tannins give power, with fresh acidity riding closely behind. Drink 2023–2030. Cellar Selection. 93 Points — A.P.

Woodland Hills Wine Company

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