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The Montepulciano grape is at its best in the Abruzzo, due east of Rome. Wines produced here tend to be medium-bodied, easy-drinking - and many offer excellent value for money.

Tractor in Montepulciano vines
Tractor in Montepulciano vines
The prolific Montepulciano grape grows easily in Abruzzo. It is plump with high amounts of juice. In an area that was traditionally this poor, this was a boon to farmers wishing to take advantage of high yields. 

The grape has a deep purple and ruby color to its juice. It has lower acidity (especially for an Italian varietal) and mild sweeter tannins. The resulting wines tend to be softer and more accessible than Chianti or Nebbiolo for example. Accordingly, the young wines are nice pleasurable reds that go as well with food as without it. Almost all of the wines at the low end of the price spectrum (and many can be found for under £10) are enjoyable. At the same time, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo can age brilliantly especially in the hands of the right producers.