Gran Conti Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Gran Conti

Dark purple, almost black, shading to a thin garnet rim. high-tone cherries and blackberries on the nose with a hint of spice in the background. Tart plums and berries on the palate, shaped by zippy acidity, with a buzz of tannins becoming more evident in the finish. Alcohol not disclosed, but it’s clearly in the normal 12-13 percent range.

Only a few U.S. vendors currently offer Gran Conti 2016 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo on, but keep checking.

You can also browse for dozens of other good wines of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Read article.

Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco Grasparossa


This fine, artisanal Lambrusco is made from Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro grapes. Dark purple, it pours with a frothy mousse that falls back fast. Fruity aromas of plums and prunes on the nose carry over intact on the palate with a fizzy mouthfeel. It’s bone-dry, in pleasing contrast with sweet mass-market Lambruscos, and a distinct but not unpleasant tannic bitterness lingers with notes of dried plums. Light 11% alcohol makes for easy quaffing.

Find vendors and compare prices for Cleto Chiarli Vigneto Enrico Cialdini on

You can also find distributors in most states of the U.S. via this page from Dalla Terra Winery Direct.

Finally, learn more about Lambrusco Grasparossa, and browse dozens of links to vendors for this dry, fizzy Lambrusco from Emilia-Romagna. Read article.

Marchese di Barolo “Maraia” Barbera del Monferrato


Clear dark purple, this 100 percent Barbera shos garnet glints against the light. Scents of fresh red cherries, blackberries and dried cherries plus a light whiff of smoke carry over on the palate with bright, tart fruit shaped by crisp acidity and soft, fuzzy tannins, with a moderate 13% alcohol. Cherry-berry notes and zippy acidity linger in a very long finish.

Find vendors and compare prices for Marchese di Barolo “Maraia” Barbera del Monferrato on

Here’s a long list of links to vendors for other wines from Barbera del Monferrato, as well as information about the region. Read article.

Returning to the rest of Italy

An excellent cheese pizza from Louisville's MozzaPi.

Who doesn’t love Italian wine? I got my start in wine with the lovable wines of Italy, enjoying them at the homes of Italian-American friends before I was old enough to drink legally.
But a funny thing happened as I grew up and my interests in wine evolved: I got so busy exploring the rest of the world’s wine regions and grapes …

Archives | Subscribe (free!) | Previous article: Not April Fool: Coffee in your wine Read article.

Cantine Montagna 2017 Sangue di Giuda

Sangue di Giuda

Dark reddish-purple. The narrow natural cork comes out with a pop, but only a few bubbles line the rim. Light, simple but pleasant scent of plums and mixed berries leads into a bright, appealing flavor that’s more forward with plum-berry fruit. It’s on the sweet side but not at all cloying; crisp acidity and a light prickly effervescence helps hold the sugar in balance, as does a light but perceptible bitter almond note in the finish. A soft drink for grown-ups, best served on the warm side of refrigerator temperature, its light 7.5% makes it an easy quaff. From Oltrepò Pavese, it’s a blend of 45% each Croatina and Barbera plus small amounts of the local Ughetta and Uva Rara.

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE: returns only limited vendors for Cantine Francesco Montagna Oltrepò Pavese Sangue di Giuda on You might check in with the importer via its online contact form for information on retailers accessible to you.

Try this Wine-Searcher info page on Sangue di Giuda, though, for a list of about two dozen bottlings from other producers. Read article.

Masciarelli 2015 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo


Dark reddish-purple with a clear garnet edge. I detect fresh, subtle mixed berries on the nose, blackberry over back notes of strawberry and blueberry with a touch of warm spice. Fresh acidity wakes the palate, with soft tannins adding structure to simple but pleasant ripe plum and berry fruit. On the rustic side, but there’s nothing wrong with that in a modest Italian table wine. Tannic astringency, not unpleasant, lingers after the fruit fades. The label’s midrange 13% alcohol statement seems about right.

Compare prices and locate vendors for Masciarelli Montepulciano d’Abruzzo on

Browse a broad range of other Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wines on (Page down past the information page to find an extensive list of wines, prices and vendors.) Read article.

Three good wines under $10

We’re enjoying our month-long exploration into good-value, low-price wines generally under $10 (or the equivalent in Euros, Pounds Sterling, Yen and such) in Wine Focus: How low can you go? Here are my reports on three more good cheap wines, including two French reds and an excellent white from Italy’s lake country. See below, also, for links to buying information on another half-dozen good cheap wines that I’ve enjoyed recently. Read article.