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Italy - Abruzzo

Abruzzo is dominated by the red Montepulciano grape (unconnected with the Tuscan town of the same name). Montepulciano d'Abruzzo is a blackberry-like, fruit-packed, gutsy wine. The top selections of cooperatives such as Tollo's Colle Secco and Casal Thaulero's Orsetto Oro, or estates such as Barone Cornacchia, Illuminati, Camillo Montori and the remarkable Edoardo Valentini and Emidio Pepe show this wine to full advantage.

Surprisingly, there is also another version, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Cerasuolo, that appears as a fresh, bouncy rosé. Cataldi Madonna has high repute in the area for Cerasuolo (which means cherry-colored), although most good Montepulciano producers make a good Cerasuolo too. White wine in the region comes from the Trebbiano grape, but with a few exceptions (notably Valentini, Montori) it is uninspiring.

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