Abruzzo is the northernmost region in the Mezzogiorno, as the Southern Italy is fondly called for its warm weather, and it’s pinned between the Adriatic Sea and the Apennine Mountain Range.
Life in Abruzzo is marked by both land and sea, and you can see it in its food — Delectable seafood and hearty lamb from the Apennine foothills. Wine is also dominated by these geographic features, as the region is famous for its rustic, concentrated reds and crisp and refreshing whites.
For wine lovers, Abruzzo is a superb source for good valued, reliable wines, but winemakers craft contemplative pieces too. Here’s all you wanted to know about the wines of Abruzzo.
Sea and mountains make for a great terroir
You can find some of the highest peaks in the Apennines in Abruzzo. An impressive 38% of the region are natural protected areas and national parks, and the 130km (80 mile) of coastline complete the region’s collection of awe-inspiring views.
Most of the 36,000 hectares (89,000 acres) of vineyards are in Abruzzo’s central valley and around the coast; the most prestigious in the northern Abruzzo near the city of Teramo. The vines enjoy the coastal hot, dry summers, while the western mountains host a great number of sky resorts that receive international visitors during winter and spring. It’s this contrast what makes Abruzzo wines special.
Rural Italy with a history
Abruzzo is an ancient region. It was home to a thriving population predating the Roman Empire and today’s cities are built over ancestral towns with thousands of years of history. After the Roman rule, the region was occupied by the Lombards, Byzantines and Hungarians and eventually became a fundamental region of the Kingdom of Sicily before Italy was unified.
For the majority of the 20th century, Abruzzo was underdeveloped, the population lived in poverty and its wine industry focused on bulk wine.
By the turn of the century the region entered a new era of prosperity, also reflected in the wines, and now the region is working on restoring its former glory.
The grapes and the wines
Abruzzo, its people and also its wine are often referred to as “Forte e gentile”. Strong and gentle. Wine-wise, this corresponds to Abruzzo’s two major grapes: the red Montepulciano and the white Trebbiano.
Montepulciano covers 57% of the vineyards, while Trebbiano represents 29%. A few other grape varieties make the rest, including Pecorino, Cococciola and Sangiovese.
Two major DOPs cover the region’s quality wines, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC and Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOC. Producers label the greatest renditions of the red grape under Abruzzo’s only DOCG, Colline Teramane Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOCG.
Get to know the inky, rustic and medium-bodied Montepulciano wines with a glass of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC “Malandrino” 2019 Cataldi Madonna. And try the grape at its fullest expression with the towering Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC “Indio” 2016 Bove.
The fresh, fruit-forward white wines are perfect pairings with seafood. Try the Ausonia Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOC “Apollo” and experience the lesser-known varieties of the region with the flowery Pecorino Terre Aquilane IGT “Giulia” 2020 Cataldi Madonna.
Abruzzo is gaining notoriety for its rosé wines too, locally called Cerasuolo for the wine’s ruby hues reminiscent of cherries.
Wine for all palates
Rustic, powerful reds from Montepulciano, crisp whites from Trebbiano and delectable Cerasuolo rosés makes Abruzzi wine a complete set to please every palate and to pair with every food.
“Forte e gentile,” Abruzzo’s duality makes the region a wine lovers’ favorite.
Intense aromatic notes of prune, bitter cherry, liquorice and warm spice combine in unison with delicate vanilla, coffee, chocolate and balsamic overtones. Full-bodied and balanced on the palate, with charmingly structured tannins and a bold yet elegant finish.