This one's a bit of a blast from the past, and a blast it is. It used to be an old Oddbins staff favourite. One of those wines that used to be talked about on the company grape-vine (sorry, couldn't think of another phrase) before it came into the warehouse and invariably fought over by the managers who wanted allocation for their 'customers.' This really meant it was snapped up by staff on pay-day, if not delivery day, and customers' chances of getting to try some was rather less.
It's a Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, a big ripe inky wine, coming in at a whopping 14% alcohol. Even having mellowed a little over the years since I bought it the tannins are still grippy and there is still masses of black cherry fruit, tempered by smoky vanilla and spicy oak.
I'm sure some might argue that it's a bit load, and all this barrique ageing and fruit is too international a style, but I've always enjoyed this - and I think it's still got enough of an Italian accent to be proud of, rather than disrespectful to, its heritage.
One I've had for a while, probably somewhere around £15, although I'm not sure who stocks it now. If you see it, grab some, but don't be afraid to let it cellar.