In the past year or two I've become increasingly disenchanted with Italian wines in the $13-$16 range. At the "above $20" price range Italy certainly holds its' own but too often the "everyday" wines from Italy are either too fruit forward or, more often, too light and acidic.
Recently I came across a new bottling from Marches Rosso Piceno - De Angelis, $14.99, CSPC#632141. Rosso Piceno is the workhorse red of the Marches, on the east coast across the country from Rome.
The wine is generally a blend of Sangiovese, Montepulcoano, Passerina and white Trebbiano. The blend of the De Angelis version is 70% Montepulciano and 30% Sangiovese which results in full fruit but a nice seam of acidity to keep things in balance.
This wine drinks above it's price and is a great compliment to pizza, pasta or burgers off the grill.
The wine has moderate distribution and is a worthwhile addition to the summer cellar and if it's still around in the fall will be a nice combination to the richer meals of winter.