Friday, May 26, 2023

Around Abruzzo with Montepulciano

As we wrap up May I wanted to cover probably the most recognizable grapes when it comes to Abruzzo, which is the Montepulciano grape. Montepulciano is the 2nd most planted grape throughout Italy following Sangiovese. It is found mostly in central Italy in the regions of Abruzzo, Marche, Puglia and Molise.  

Montepulciano Territory 

In Puglia you can discover Montepulciano in the San Severo DOC and in the Biferno DOC of the Molise region. In the Marche region you will find this grape in the Rosso Conero and Rosso Piceno DOC’s where it is also blended with Sangiovese as well as the Offida Rosso DOCG. For today we are focusing on Montepulciano in Abruzzo where there is over 42,000 acres planted between a 30-mile distance between the Apennine Mountains and the Adriatic Sea. In Abruzzo the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC covers the largest territory and volume within the region, but there is also the Colline Teramane DOCG. You can also find Montepulciano in Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo that I shared earlier this month.  

The Montepulciano Grape 

The Montepulciano grape is thick-skinned, late ripening grape that produces in high yields. The wines are dry, medium to full-bodied that are deep in color. The wines tend to be high in acidity with a moderate amount of alcohol. Depending on the territory and producer the wines can be easy and approachable or have more depth.  

The Wines 

I tried several Montepulciano wines this week to share.  

The Agriverde winery is deeply rooted in Abruzzo’s history with the Di Carlo family since the 19th century. The winery is located near the village of Caldari in the Ortona province. The winery has a strong focus on a sustainability model that respects the environment and protects consumer health through their organic farming methods without using synthetic chemical fertilizers. In the 1980’s, Giannicola Di Carlo took over the winery and in 1988 converted over about 160 acres to organic. In 1991 they became certified by the ICEA, Institue for Environmental Ethics, and were one of the first in the Italy to become certified organic through the EU’s farming regulations. They also because bio vegan certified as well eliminating the use of animal origins. 

Their 2018 Agriverde Solarea Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC was deep ruby in color with a nose of ripe cherry and black cherry aromas. Medium bodied with notes of blackberries, ripe cherries with juicy acidity and moderate tannin with some spice through the finish. Importer: Narduzzi Imports. ABV 14.5% SRP $38  

2018 Agriverde Solarea Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC
I’ve shared recently the wines of Cantina Tollo and today wanted to share their 2018 Cantina Tollo “Mo” Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva DOC. This wine is vinified in stainless steel and spends 9 months in oak. A deeper ruby color with a nose that caught me off guard of asparagus and cherries. It’s not quite often I can pinpoint something so precise. A medium-bodied wine with bright acidity and mostly blackberries on the palate along with cherry notes. I enjoyed the rustic character in this wine with some oak present on the finish with spice that smooths out. ABV 13.5% 
2018 Cantina Tollo “Mo” Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva DOC

Lastly, are a couple wines from Tenute Agricole Masciarelli. The winery and headquarters are located in San Martina sulla Marruccina in the Chieti province with additional wineries in Loreto in the Pescara province and Controguerra in the Teramo province. Masciarelli is the only producer in Abruzzo with vineyards in all 4 provinces including Chieti, Pescara, Teramo and l’Aquila. 

The first wines of Masciarelli were produced in 1981 by Gianni Masciarelli with their Montepulciano and Trebbiano grapes from their original 5 acres vineyards. Gianni was the first to introduce the guyot vine training system in Abruzzo and the use of French oak with Montepulciano and Trebbiano grapes. In 2008 the Masciarelli family planted more vines totaling over 740 acres across 60 parcels of land made of grapes and olives. Today the winery produces about 2.2 million bottles all from estate grown grapes. 

I’d personally love to attend this estate someday, especially since they started a hotel in 2009 from a 17th century Castello di Semivicoli that they bought in 2004.

Their 2020 Masciarelli Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC is from their “Linea Classica” line and is a Montepulciano to be enjoyed in its youth. Fresh, bright and a perfect every day wine to enjoy. SRP $15.

2020 Masciarelli Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC
Their flagship wine is the one I really want to share, which is the 2018 Marina Cvetic Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva DOC.  This wine is named after Gianni’s wife, Marina Cvetic, and made its debut in 1997. Made from 100% Montepulciano grapes sourced from their top “cru” estates with altitudes between 435-1,200 feet. The soils are mostly calcareous clay with live and alluvial sediments. The juice is fermented and macerated separately and then aged 12-18 months in new French barrique. Per Vintus this wine is the only Italian wine that has won the coveted Tre Bicchieri 14 times.  SRP $30


2018 Marina Cvetic Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva DOC

Food pairing with Montepulciano 

You can pair these wines with pasta dishes, especially those in tomato-based sauces. The acidity and tannins also do well in fatty based meats.  

If you're interested in taking a look at these and other Montepulciano d'Abruzzo wines try a search on 

*I may receive commissions if any wines are purchased directly from this buyer to support the operations of Vino Travels.

*These wines were received as samples, but opinions are all my own.