Pioneering in many ways, obtaining doc recognition was unto itself a small revolution. The status recognition created the regulatory requirements for the full enhancement of the wine type, a labour-intensive yet exciting happening. It was not easy to free Montepulciano from the stereotypical rustic and colourful red reputation, destined only to enrich wines from other areas and a wine that travels well in tanks and large bottles. Yet the challenge appears to be substantially very well surpassed, as numbers testify: 80% of certified Abruzzo production comes from montepulciano, and 150 local wineries offer at least one label containing the region’s primary grape variety.
“We want to seize the opportunity of the anniversary to make decisions that further increase traceability of the supply chain”, announced the Abruzzo Wine Consortium’s President Valentino Di Campli. “Starting December 1st, we will be granted the State mark for all protected denominations, thus completing the supervision activity of productions as a guarantee for consumers”. Numerous initiatives will be launched by the Consortium to celebrate the doc’s 50th anniversary. This will be the leit motif of this collective presence –– with 38 producers –– present at the Prowein event in Düsseldorf (March 18-20), hosting workshops by Abruzzo Wein Fest, and after Vinitaly (in Verona, April 15-18 collectively gathering 45 producers and one restaurant space). Thanks to the project “Percorsi” and dedicated website (percorsi.vinidabruzzo.it) local action will also be implemented to strengthen the virtuoso bond connecting nature, gastronomy and wine. This is fortunately a movement that has virtually increased phenomenally in recent years, and which thankfully marks this part of Italy located between Adriatic Sea and the Apennine mountain ridge as an increasingly desirable destination for wine lovers and beyond.
33 thousand hectares of vine planted surface
3,5 million hectolitres (average annual output)
Over 1 million hectolitres from origin denominated wines
800 thousand hectolitres of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Doc
35 cooperative wineries yield 75% of production
80% of the regional grape is planted in “pergola abruzzese” system
Percorsi. Online guide to wineries, Parks and art
«The ideal itinerary is an absolute must». The Abruzzo Wine Consortium launches a project that promotes and supports tourist itineraries that combines cultural and artistic attractions with the warm welcome participants are offered in Abruzzo wineries. The project Percorsi for visiting Abruzzo wine and culture first, is an online platform that lends the opportunity of discovering this region thanks to specific itineraries, scouting–glass in hand–new wineries and particular producers. The website percorsi.vinidabruzzo.it acts as Abruzzo’s calling card and allows travellers in the region to access quality tourist information, plus artistic and cultural content in a single online resource. Users simply navigate online and discover different itineraries: with detailed road and territorial descriptions, hermitage retreats, monuments, museums, churches, and a list of wineries and contacts complete with the type of services available (wine tastings, dining, retail, lodging, cellar and vineyard tours). Suggestions obviously come complete with tips on where to eat in the surroundings.
Montepulciano: Versatile grape variety with personality
With more than 27 thousand planted hectares, montepulciano is Italy’s fourth variety in terms of overall presence. (Source: Uiv). Along with sangiovese, montepulciano is the dominant grape in central Italy. It is present in the regions of Le Marche, Umbria, Molise and Puglia, but Abruzzo is transversally considered the grape’s land of choice for both historical origins and weight in the supply chain. Historically, the presence of this variety in the region is documented as early as the 1700s and montepulciano now covers approximately half of the whole vine-planted surface (17,000 hectares of 36,000 and 70% of new systems). The grape variety is vigorous and late-harvested, it produces reds of unmistakeable fruitiness and thickness of body, apt for long aging. By the same token, it works well for whimsical interpretations, including in the Cerasuolo version.
Trebbiano, pecorino & Co. The other grapes... In white
Abruzzo wine making doesn’t merely focus on Montepulciano. The Abruzzo growth in wine production also owes much to its whites. Consider the wines based in Trebbiano, grown in all the major wine areas of the region (approximately 14,000 hectares): the style panorama has never been this varied and convincing. Same goes for Pecorino; production areas increase, the interpretation offer grows beyond the authentically “surf and turf” characteristics. Still trailing behind are, for the time being, the productions connected to Passerina and Cococciola, yet their expression identity is defined with each vintage.
by Paolo De Cristofaro
Photos by Giovanni Di Prinzio