Where a rugged terrain meets vast expanses of grape and olive, magnificent wines are sure to abound. Abruzzo bears some of the most easy drinking wines to come from Italy. Excellent for pairing with food, you will rarely find an Abruzzo vintage that is over 12% alcohol. The region’s signature wines, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo and Cerasuolo, are easy compliments to Abruzzese cuisine, namely its wide array of rich pasta dishes, artisanal cheeses and roasted game.
The pinnacle of Abruzzo winemaking, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is the region’s most well known and internationally celebrated wine. While the famous Vino Nobile di Montepulciano from Tuscany derives its name from the town where the wine is produced, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo derives its names from the actual Montepulciano grape variety that is indigenous to the Peligna Valley and encompasses the provinces of Chieti, Pescara, Teramo and L’Aquila. The grapes are traditionally harvested in mid-October and for the vintage to obtain DOC status it must contain at least 85% Montepulciano d’Abruzzo grape, with some vintages allowed to contain small amounts of Sangiovese grapes from Tuscany. The most prestigious production of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo comes from the hills known as the “Colline Teramane” surrounding the town of Teramo. The vintages of this wine producing zone were honored with a separate DOCG status in 2003, which stipulates that the wines must contain a minimum of 90% Montepulciano d’Abruzzo grape and be aged for three years instead of the standard two year process for other Montepulciano vintages. The wine is characterized by a deep purple and cherry color and exudes notes of spice and red fruit, such as red currants and wild cherry. The intense red fruit taste, although long lasting, demonstrates a lower acidity level than most other Italian red wines.
An antique wine that dates back to the 16th century, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo derives its name from the Trebulanum grape. The wine is traditionally produced from a mix of Trebbiano d’Abruzzo grapes along with a cousin varietal, the Trebbiano grape of Tuscany. Trebbiano d’Abruzzo is a DOC wine that contains at least 85% Trebbiano d’Abruzzo grape, is harvested from the end of September into mid-October, and is most typically imbibed young, which usually means within two years of its bottling. The flavor of the wine is dry with a subtle almond finish, exuding a vibrant yet soft floral and fruit bouquet and showcasing a pale yellow straw color.
A deliciously fresh and light wine produced from the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo grape, the vinification process for Cerasuolo limits the fermentation of the grape skins to either just a few hours or none at all, resulting in the wine’s characteristic blush hue. Harvested in the second half of October, Cerasuolo is normally served chilled and features a subtle grape must bouquet complimented by intense flavors of cherry or red currant. The wine exhibits a dry, velvety finish and a slight almond aftertaste. Cerasuolo is delicious served with fish, white meats, pasta dishes, antipasti containing cured meats and cheeses.
About the author
Dejou Marano is Co-Founder of CountryBred and Founding Editor of The Bred Blog. Splitting her time between Los Angeles and Europe, Dejou seeks to bring the imagination and wonder of Europe to all travelers through her never-ending pursuit of undiscovered cultural gems and experiences, which she shares through her travel writing.