Friday, October 4, 2019

The Variety of Abruzzo Wines

The wines of Abruzzo are best known for their montepulciano d’abruzzo, but there is so much more.  Today I’m highlighting some wines I recently received to try and others I had at some tastings earlier this summer from Abruzzo that I’ve been waiting to share with you.  Our Italian Food, Wine and Travel group this month takes you all through the wines of Abruzzo with some suggested pairings along the way. 

The Land ~ Abruzzo 
Abruzzo is located in central Italy located on the east coast along the Adriatic.  Bordering Le Marche to the north, Lazio to the west and Molise to the south.  It’s about 2/3 covered in mountains and is one of the most if not the most mountainous region in central and southern Italy.  The Apennine mountain range runs through it plus the Gran Sasso in northern Abruzzo with Monti della Lago and Massif of Mariella as well.   

The Wineries 
The first three wines I share below come from Codice Citra.  Codice Citra is a winery founded in 1973.  Three of the wines today including the Citra, Caldora and Ferzo are all part of this overarching brand.  Codice Citra is made up of a bunch of small families combining a variety of terroirs and climates in the province of Chieti.  The winemaking is overlooked by the famous Italian enologist, Riccardo Cotarella, whom I’ve talked about in previous posts assisting other wineries throughout Italy.  The grapes grown in this area benefits from the “brezza di terra” as their website mentions which creates the perfect climate with cold air traveling from the mountains with the warm air from the sea. 

The Grapes 
No matter how many wines you try I feel there is always something to learn, especially when it comes to Italian wine.  This month I tried a wine from a grape I actually hadn’t even heard of, cococciolaCococciola is a grape native to southern Abruzzo almost all hailing from the province of Chieti.  It is a grape that has been typically blended with trebbiano, but in the wine I present today it stands alone.   

White wines only make up about 40% of Abruzzo’s wines with reds dominating the pack.  Trebbiano is the leading white grape, but there are others like cococciola and pecorino.  Montepulciano leads the charge of red grapes with dominating over half of the production. 

The Wine 
2017 Ferzo Cococciola IGP Terre di Chieti2017 Ferzo Cococciola IGP Terre di Chieti - This wine is made from 100% cococciola.  The grapes are gently pressed and fermented in stainless steel.  This is the wine’s 3rd vintage.  Straw colored and rather light in body.  Stone fruit on the nose with a refreshing palate with crisp acidity up front and lingering citrus and apple notes through the finish.  ABV 13% SRP $26 

2017 Citra Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOP – A brand many are familiar with and I actually remember an Italian restaurant that I worked for when I was young using this wine in their cooking.  Citra produces 24 million bottles so to say they are quite large is an understatement.  This wine is deep ruby in color.  Full bodied and fruit forward, rich in dark berries.  A great every day, easy drinking wine.  It’s hard not to beat when it’s only about $8 a bottle.  ABV 13%  

Pairing: I paired this wine with a classic chicken parmesan dish with a side of eggplant parmesan.  To be honest I feel that either this or the Caldora Sangiovese would've worked out just as well.
chicken parmesan pairing with montepulciano d'abruzzo
2016 Caldora Sangiovese Terre di Chieti IGT2016 Caldora Sangiovese Terre di Chieti IGT – I'm a sangiovese lover as you may know so was excited to try this from the Abruzzo region.  Dark dark ruby and dark cherry on the nose.  The fruit was more pronounced and not as dry as their counterpart and comparison to some of the Tuscan wines.  More round with softer tannin.  Notes of vanilla and well-balanced.  Another easy drinking wine and only about $10-12 bottle.  ABV 12.5% SRP $10-12 

My personal selections from tastings earlier this summer are: 

2015 Marina Cvetic Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva DOC2015 Marina Cvetic Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva DOC– From the esteemed Masciarelli winery this line of wines is named after the founder, Gianni Masciarelli’s wife, Marina Cvetic.  The 100% montepulciano grapes that produce this wine come from their prized San Martino sulla Marruccina estate in the Chieti province.  Rich, lush raspberries with vanilla and baking spice notes.  Well structured with balanced acidity and moderate tannin.  This wine is aged 12-18 months in French barrique before being bottled.  ABV 14.5% SRP $26-30 

2015 Orlandi Contucci Ponno Podere La Regia Specula Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane DOCG2015 Orlandi Contucci Ponno Podere La Regia Specula Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane DOCG – Under the Agricole Gussalli Beretta the Orlandi Contucci Ponno winery is situated about a mile from the Adriatic and rather close to the Gran Sasso.  Made from 100% montepulciano this wine spends 12 months partially in tonneaux and partially in 20 hectolitre barrels plus 6 months in the bottle.  Full-bodied showing cherries and red fruits with some tannin showing through on the finish.  ABV 13.5% SRP Wine Searcher says this bottle goes for $9 and I couldn’t find any other pricing, but if that is the case it’s one heck of a deal.

Below are the the fellow Italian Food, Wine and Travel participants with their food and wine pairing selections.  Join the live Twitter chat this Saturday October 5th at 11am EST at #ItalianFWT.  

*All wines were provided as samples, but opinions are strictly my own.


  1. Curious about that Sangiovese from Abruzzo!

  2. I've never hear of Cococciola either and now I'm so curious!

  3. How fun that you got a sangiovese from Caldoro. I was pleased with the Montepulciano and would love to try the chianti.