Italy - 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.