Podere Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ($14.78)
Find it in the Italy Section

Umani Ronchi is a big Italian outfit producing wines in the less than famous Marche and Abruzzo regions of Italy.  They are a reliable maker at all price points.

Their Podere is a bargain Montepuliciano d’Abruzzo, (as much fun to say as to drink).  In the cranky way of many things Italian and vinous the Montepulciano grape is indigenous to the peninsula and grown widely, but not around the village after which it is named.

It’s warm in Abruzzo and wines from the region can be raisiny.  Not so with the Podere, care has been taken to keep this wine light and relatively fresh.  In the process, some character might have been lost: it’s perfectly drinkable but not terribly interesting.

That’s fine, the great majority of people don’t fancy “difficulty” or “complexity” in things.  This makes the Podere an excellent choice for a reception red, it won’t offend those odious wine snobs and everyone else will be perfectly happy.

Good fit with a simple pasta dish on a Tuesday night.  Worth the modest price of admission. 

Villa Bianchi Verdicchio ($14.78)
Find it in the Italy Section

The white wine in this part of the Umami Ronchi range is the Villa Bianchi.  It’s 100% Verdicchio dei Castellie di Jesi, in this instance actually grown best around the commune of Jesi.  This is more of a success than the red, it’s got the zip and crispness (there has been no malolactic fermentation so there is no “butteriness”) and the slight almond note you want from this grape variety.

It’s dangerously slaking and while it could easily play the “cheap and cheerful white” role at the reception it really enhances a meal of fish. More wine than you are paying for here.