One of the Wine Curmudgeon ?s great finds this year has been wine from the Abruzzi region of Italy, made with the montepulciano grape. I don ?t know that they have been quite up to the quality of their Sicilian brethren, but the Velennosi was a wine of the week and the La Fattoria is a fixture in the $10 Hall of Fame.
The La Quercia ($12, sample, 13%) continues the trend. It ?s a red wine that ?s simple and cheap, but this is not damning with faint praise. Yes, it won’t win any big-time awards, and I don’t know that I would give it more than a high bronze in a wine competition. But not every wine needs to be flashy. Sometimes, as I learned this summer during the $3 wine tasteoff, that ?s exactly what you don ?t need.
This is an intense wine, without much fruit and very Italian in style, earthy and savory. And anyone who likes California grocery store merlot will probably wonder why I ?m so enthusiastic about it. But on a Friday night, after a long week, drinking it with home-made pizza with sausage and mushrooms, it was just what I needed. What more can a wine offer?