Abruzzo has for a long time been Italy’s go to region for good value red wine. The draw is almost always Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, an often cheap and cheerful red wine made from the local Montepulciano grape. In the hills that descend from the eastern side of the Apennine Mountains towards the Adriatic Sea, the variety accumulates attractive flavours of forest fruits and ripe jam, while at the same time offering up soft but fleshy tannins.
Despite the reputation, there are a number of premium quality wines made from appellations that are rarely seen outside of Italy. The finest expression of Montepulciano comes from the Teramane hills and is labelled as Colline Teramane Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOCG. Wines such as Azienda Agricola Illuminati’s Zanni provide a great insight into the distinctive elements of terroir that lift the appellation above that of the standard Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Farnese’s ‘Opi’ Riserva is also a very worthy example.
Controguerra is a mall DOC in Abruzzo. This classification exists in just a handful of municipalities in the province of Teramo, in the north of the region: Controguerra, Torano Nuovo, Ancarano, Corropoli and Colonnella. It is known for its white wines from Pecorino and Passerina, while red wines boast a majority of Montepulciano.
Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo is a rosé wine appellation in Abruzzo that was formerly part of the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC, but since 2010 has stood alone in order to showcase the quality of the region’s pink wines. They are made with the local Montepulciano grape.