Montepulciano: Best cheap wine?

Montepulciano vineyards in Abruzzo.

“One of my favorite wines!” My friend Meghan Levins, a local chef, jumped happily into the discussion when I posted a photo of today’s featured wine, a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, on social media. “Even the cheap stuff is awesome!”
“Exactly,” I posted back. “I’ve never seen a pricey one.”

Archives | Subscribe (free!) | Previous article: Feeling the burn Read article.

Bennati Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Bennati Castellano Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a good, food-friendly Italian red, a bit on the rustic side, as is typical of the affordable wines of this region. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Dark reddish-purple in the glass, it offers pleasant dark cherry-berry aromas. Flavors follow the nose with blackberries and tart cherries shaped by pleasant mouth-watering acidity.

You may have a hard time finding the Castellano label. Importer Emanuele Magnani tells me it was originally designed for sale to a group of restaurants, but now is available in limited quantities in a few states. However, it’s very similar to Bennati’s Ca Brigiano Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, which you’ll find at this Wine-Searcher link.

You can also browse this extensive list of other wines from Casa Vinicola Bennati on

Finally, you can follow this Wine-Searcher link to look for scores of other wines of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, virtuallly all of them affordable and worth it. Read article.

Bonterra California Zinfandel

Bonterra California Zinfandel

Bonterra Zinfandel, a good-value California Zin made with certified organic grapes, offers an appealing introduction to Zinfandel at a rational price. Characteristic Zin raspberries and strawberries, blueberry and black plum add a heady overtone of strawberry liqueur on the nose, with plums and blueberries evident in the flavor with food-friendly acidity and a light buzz of tannins. Sturdy 15.3% alcohol is worth noting, but to the wine’s credit, it handles the high alcohol well.

Check prices and find vendors for Bonterra California Zinfandel on

Follow this Wine-Searcher link to find listings for dozens of other Bonterra wines with vendor and price information. Read article.

Mas de Gourgonnier Rosé

Mas de Gourgonnier

An excellent Provence blend of Grenache and Mourvèdre with a glug of Cabernet Sauvignon, this organically grown rosé is a pretty, rosy pink. Delicious red-berry aromas of raspberries and strawberries invite a taste. Red berries and zippy lemon-lime flavors add brisk acidity and intriguing rainwater-over-rocks minerality. Berries and citrus join in a long finish.

Check prices and find vendors for Mas de Gourgonnier Rosé on

Follow this Wine-Searcher link to browse Wine-Searcher’s listings for all the wines produced by Mas de Gourgonnier.

Learn about Les Baux de Provence and browse listings for the region’s wines at this Wine-Searcher link. Read article.

Maccan Friuli Cabernet Franc

Maccan Friuli Cabernet Franc

Made from organic and sustainably farmed grapes, Maccan Friuli Cabernet Franc shows a pretty, dark-purple color and garnet edge. Fresh tart cherries, dried cherries and Kirsch cherry liqueur blend in the aroma. Delicious, fruity but dry cherry flavors carry over on the palate, sharply focused with mouth-watering alcohol and astringent tannins; cherry fruit and minerality in a long finish.

Check prices and find vendors for Maccan Friuli Cabernet Franc on

Follow this Wine-Searcher link to find listings for dozens of other wines from Fruili-Venezia Giulia.

Read about Cabernet Franc and browse listings for a variety of Cab Franc wines at this Wine-Searcher link.
Read article.