What's the best cheap red wine I've had in months, possibly this whole year? The 2007 Badia Alle Corti Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, hands down. This might even be better than my longtime favorite from this DOC, the basic bottling from Masciarelli.
There's nice freshness here, with a deep perfume that's typcial for this region and good, savory and sweet and surprisingly complex for such inexpensive wine. The cherry fruit flavors have the classic leather, meat and roast almond notes that make this much more interesting than simply fruity wine, so nice with a warm plate of pasta or lasagna.
Some people might find this "dry," but to me the rich savory notes and bright acidity are like bacon compared to the simple pork chop of so many domestic red wines in this category. There's a place for pork chops, but bacon is the stuff of life. Here, the depth and savor of a wine with cured flavors like this one make for much more interesting drinking and pairing with food than simple oaky, fruity wine so common to our store shelves. Locally, this goes for as little as $8. That's absurd value, if you want it.