Spinelli Montepulciano D’Abruzzo

2008 Spinelli Montepulciano D'Abruzzo, $7.40. LCBO# 454629.

I’m long overdue for a review of a new $10 wine, and have had this one waiting to be sipped and judged for a while. I paired this Italian red with our pizza masterpiece, as it only seemed fitting. Unfortunately, it was far less spectacular than the pizza.

While this bottle comes in at the same price point as one of my Italian favourites (Farnese Sangiovese Daunia, $7.40), it doesn’t have nearly the same body and soul. I know I’m comparing apples to oranges as far as grape varietal, but I’m really comparing value for money and drinkability in the cheap Italy aisle at the LCBO.

Part of this wine’s weakness may be the alcohol content- it sits at 12%, which gives an almost watery quality. While it does go down easy with nothing much to complain about taste-wise, it’s also missing something to make it interesting.

It started out promising, a nice ruby red colour and slightly earthy nose. But the taste is a bit indistinguishable; the LCBO references dark berries, leather and herbs. My palate picked up “mediocre but very affordable red wine.” It also says this is medium bodied, where I would call it light.

I think this is a case of what you’re looking for in a red. When I pick up an Italian table wine, I’d like it to be full and robust, and bring something to the meal. Hence my love of Farnese. However, if you are not a full bodied red kind of person, this wine might be your style. It’s light, easy to drink, and doesn’t overpower the food. It might also be good to drink on its own- not so much flavour that it overwhelms your taste buds.

Overall, I give this wine 7/10 for taste and 3.5/5 for value.

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