Friday, June 20, 2014

Wines of Abruzzo: Montepulciano d'Abruzzo & Trebbiano d'Abruzzo

The Abruzzo region of Italy is surrounded by the Corno
Grande on one side, which is the highest peak of the Appennine mountains, and on the other the Adriatic Sea. The Corno Grande is part of the Gran Sasso d'Italia, meaning great rock of Italy, which is the mountain chain in the north west part of Abruzzo. The region is a great a combination of maritime and fresh mountain air with a drier climate. South of the region, in Chieti, the majority of the vineyards in Abruzzo are located here and face a lot of humidity and heat.

Wine map of Abruzzo wine region in Italy
Abruzzo wine map ~ Copyright of Federdoc
Abruzzo is one of the top wine production regions in Italy. Much of the production is dominated by cooperatives like Citra with many of them located in the southern part of the region. This region is trying to change its image from being known as bulk producers to smaller wineries specializing in quality. One of the most popular winemakers of this region is Edoardo Valentini, but you will have trouble finding his wine in the states due to an issue with the American authorities back in the 70's. Masciarelli is also another big name of the region where Marina Cvetic has taken over after Gianni Masciarelli passed away in 2008.

There are four provinces in Abruzzo:

  • Chieti
  • Pescara
  • Aquila
  • Teramo

The popular DOC's of the Abruzzo region are: Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Trebbiano d'Abruzzo DOC and two newer DOC's Controguerra (1996) and Teramane DOC (1995).

The two most popular grapes of this region and the ones that are exported the most are Trebbiano d'Abruzzo (white wine) and Montepulciano d'Abruzzo (red wine).

White wines of Abruzzo

Trebbiano is the star of this region when it comes to white wines. You may also be familiar with this grape as it's known as ugni blanc in France. Trebbiano typically has higher acidity with low extract and is aromatic on the nose. It usually is lighter in body and dry. The Trebbiano d'Abruzzo DOC was created in 1972.

Emidio Pepe wines of Abruzzo
Popular producer of wines in Abruzzo

Red wines of Abruzzo

The rosé wines of this region are some of the heftier rose wines because of the Montepulciano grape that they are produced from, but it depends on the producer and the amount that the skins are macerated with the juice. This rosé is known as Cerasuolo, meaning cherry. It typically shows strawberries and dried cherry along with some spice. This Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo DOC was created in recent years in 2010.

The Montepulciano d'Abruzzo DOC was created in 1968 and takes up a good part of the region. Don't confuse this grape with that of the town, Montepulciano, which is located in Tuscany and produces the sangiovese grape. This grape is dark in color with low acidity and notes of blackberries and ripe fruit.

Food of Abruzzo

This region being on the coast has fish as their local cuisine, including a popular fish stew, but they are known for their meat including sausage and lamb. In Abruzzo, saffron is the popular spice. Within the last week I featured a food and wine pairing with Montepulciano d'Abruzzo.  

Have you been to Abruzzo and what are your favorite food or wines from the region?

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