The Abruzzo territory is dominated by important findings (the massif of Gran Sasso and Majella) and vast hill systems. The most suitable areas in terms of wine are the valley of the Pescara river,plateau constituted by valley or Peligna basin, plain of Navelli also called Inferno or Forno d'Abruzzo for the high summer temperatures, and finally the Teramo hills. The climate is heterogeneous: from mediterranean area of coast / hill (hot / dry) to the mountain(rainy, with strong thermal excursions). At a geological level we find limestone and karst deposits in the mountainous areas, in the north they prevail sedimentary rocks, clays e sandstones while in the south we find clays e sands rich in fossils.
The Abruzzo wine culture has deep roots, the first to cultivate the vine were the Vestini (XNUMXth century BC), then i Etruscans, the Picenia, the Sannitis and Romans. Ancient sources testify to us how much the wines of this area were appreciated by the ancients, like Ovid of Sulmona which praises the wine of Peligna Valley. Between the Middle Ages and the modern era, Abruzzo remains a land renowned for its large production quantities and the cultivation of vines spread throughout almost the entire region until the arrival of phylloxera. Until the mid-900s the province of L'Aquila was the largest producer in terms of wine, only since the 50s has higher production has moved on hills near the coast.
The main protagonists of this extraordinary wine-growing area are the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo and, for whites, the Trebbiano (on which we will return with a specific article).
This wine and its namesake vine should not be confused with the Nobile di Montepulciano wine, which is instead produced by Prugnolo Gentile, a clone of Sangiovese. Probably confusion arose because of some Medici fiefdoms in Abruzzo, near Ofena and Capestrano, where vines were grown according to Tuscan customs. There is no certainty about the origin, it is probably a native vine or, as some claim, of distant Greek origin. It is a rustic, vigorous vine e very productive. From powerful wines rich in substance, suitable for aging. Perfect wine for pairing with game in general and with sheep and goat meats, with local products such as arrosticini, ventricina, caciocavalli and pecorino, as well as with pasta seasoned with rich meat sauces.
The main denominations in which Montepulciano is the protagonist are:
Terre Tollesi or Tullum DOCG: recent denomination (2019), limited to one very small range (25 km / q) around the municipality of Tollo, on the hills near the Adriatic coast in one of the areas with the most vineyards in Italy, the province of Chieti.
Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Colline Teramane DOCG: denomination since 2011, produced by a min. 90% of Montepulciano grapes, plus a maximum of 10% Sangiovese, even if almost all producers make wine alone. The area is located in the province of Teramo, in the part north of the region on hills between the Gran Sasso and the Adriatic. I land they are mainly clayey and calcareous. The wines are very fine, complex and elegant, less powerful and concentrated than the wines of the L'Aquila area.
Montepulciano d'Abruzzo DOC: Historical denomination from 1968, in this specification the Montepulcianousable is min. 85%, plus a balance not exceeding 15% of other non-aromatic black berried grapes produced in Abruzzo. The production styles and soils are very different as the DOC includes almost the entire region: you go from finer and more fruity wines of the colline close to coastline, To more powerful, concentrated and wild wines of L'Aquila highlands. Just as there are enormous differences between the large numbers of the large cooperative giants and the more limited productions of the small producers. I will limit myself to pointing out two of the most noteworthy ones, even if the list would be really long!
Montepulciano d'Abruzzo DOC Emidio Pepe 2012
Historic and emblematic company, authentic standard-bearer of the high qualitative value achieved by this vine, has been active since 1964 a Torano Nuovo (YOU). The founder Emidio Pepe he is one of the pioneers in the rediscovery of Montepulciano. The 15 hectares of its vineyards are immersed in one of the most beautiful views of Abruzzo, near the border with the Marche, and enjoy a breezy microclimate, with moderate temperature variations due to the proximity of the sea and the Apennine chain. The company works with organic and biodynamic certification using indigenous yeasts. Emidio Pepe's production philosophy is very simple: "The house of wine is the bottle", therefore only glass and concrete tanks for winemaking, no use of barrels. The really remarkable and excellent Montepulciano 2012, of a beautiful intense ruby red, the nose shows evident notes of raspberry, cherry, red fruit and pleasant notes of licorice, while in the mouth emerges a full, velvety sip, with great structure and yet satisfying and smooth to drink. It is a wine of great persistence and finesse, extremely elegant, with a delicate and silky tannin.
Montepulciano d'Abruzzo DOC Cantina Praesidium 2010
Active family business a Price (AQ) since 1988. The name derives from the ancient term used to indicate the city of Prezza. The holders are Lucia and Ottaviano Pasquale. 5 hectares of vineyards located 400 meters above sea level in the Peligna Valley, where the climate is characterized by a high temperature range between day and night, thus favoring the production of high quality wines. The company has organic certification and uses only indigenous yeasts. Theirs Montepulciano 2010 it is surprising for the great power and strength that emerges from the glass, a truly rustic and true interpretation of this grape variety, typical of the “extreme” territory where it is produced. Ruby red of great intensity, almost impenetrable. The nose reveals a remarkable olfactory complexity, with hints of ripe fruit, cherry and raspberry in particular, followed by spicy notes of black pepper, as well as leather and tobacco. Some mineral notes of flint are particularly pleasing. In the mouth the entrance is powerful and lively, with a great structure tannin. Full-bodied and rustic wine that perfectly reflects the territory and the men who produce it.
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