Crushed black cherries, blueberry skins, sage, stone dust and hints of animal musk all come together to form a deeply satisfying bouquet...soft, round and textural, giving way to a twang of tart wild berries complemented by saline-minerals and firmed up with grippy tannins. This goes on and on. Structured, yet still packed with spicy primary fruits, all while remaining fresh.
Abruzzo is a mountainous region on the Adriatic coast, about half way down Italy. With 83,000 vineyard acres it ranks 10th in size among Italy’s appellations. Though the Apennines, the mountains that define the region, keep Abruzzo off the usual routes for wine tourism, Abruzzo is Italy’s fifth most productive wine region. It makes nearly twice as much wine as Tuscany, but until recently most Abruzzo wines were mass produced and poor in quality. In recent years, however, boutique producers have established themselves in Abruzzo and Gambero Rosso in 2016 wrote that Abruzzo wines are increasingly “better defined and of better quality…. We see an ever more convincing rediscovery of roots and traditional techniques.” Abruzzo has one DOCG, for Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane, and three DOCs, including one for the red wine Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and one for the white Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. The third DOC is Controguerra, which includes many red and white wines made of a wide variety of grapes. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, the grape, is often confused with the Tuscan town of Montepulciano. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a deeply dark, tannic grape that was once thought to be related to Sangiovese, though that has now been disproven. Classic Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wines are recognizable for flavors of blackberry nuanced with earthiness.