“You must have a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo!” I heard this from my friend Marco at Ca’Bianca, and from my producers and friends in Italy. I have enjoyed many native (“autoctono” in Italian) varietals including Montepulciano, but in the spirit of transparency, I am not well versed in all the wines of the Abruzzo region. So, it’s time I become versed and, more importantly, immersed! I sounded the travel alarm for the crew and told them we were going on another scouting expedition. Our target…the best Montepulciano d’Abruzzo we could find!
We haven’t left Sonoma wine country yet, but I already have an appointment with a producer in Vasto. I checked the winery bio, Italian reviews and press. Looks perfect. It helps to have a network of industry professionals in Italy who understand my passion and mission - to identify producers who craft exceptional wines from native varietals and have a long family history of growers and winemakers. I have started my research on the region, and I become more intrigued with every website I visit. The region’s history is rich with conquerors and emperors throughout ancient times waging war to rule the land. The Abruzzo region has expansive vineyards, hill towns, white sandy beaches, and, of course, the Apennines. (Stop! You had me at vineyards.)
There are three DOC wines in the region (Contro Guerra, Trebbiano d'Abruzzo, and Montepulciano d'Abruzzo) and one DOCG (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Colline Teramane). The region is most known for Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. This big red is crafted primarily from the Montepulciano grape, although DOC regulations permit up to 15% Sangiovese. It is typically a dark, deeply violet colored wine, with low to moderate acidity, and characteristically soft tannins. While I am primarily looking for the red, I’m also looking forward to experiencing the whites in the region—Pecorino (no, not related to the cheese) and Trebbiano.
Andiamo! (Let’s go!) For those friends who may be interested, you can follow us on our expedition on our facebook page: www.facebook.com/ChigazolaMerchants.