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Although the rediscovery of ancient varieties is always welcome, the focus in Abruzzo remains firmly on Montepulciano. It’s a versatile grape, in the sense that it can give pleasure in numerous guises. It can be vinified and aged in stainless steel to give a simple, attractive wine with freshness and transparency of fruit. If cropped low, it can be aged in casks or barriques – even new barriques – to create wines of altogether greater depth, concentration and complexity.  The oaked Montepulcianos are not really wines for everyday drinking, being too dense and powerful, but are superb winter warmers. Some can develop gamey aromas with age; others remain on a plateau, displaying primary fruit for years. Montepulciano does evolve with age, but it’s not a variety that demands bottle age to show complexity.

Another manifestation of Montepulciano is Cerasuolo, a rosé wine that is usually made by giving the juice a maceration of eight to 18 hours on the skins before fermentation. The result is a light red rather than a rosé, a wine with body and succulence. It’s very popular in the region, but exports have been growing. Even in a good pizzeria in the regional capital of Pescara, you don’t necessarily want to drink a rich red. Cerasuolo, with its vinosity and weight – ideally drunk lightly chilled – is just the ticket. Most producers agree that you mustn’t think of Cerasuolo as a way to use up your least interesting grapes; it should be made from grapes of high quality, and treated seriously.

Being a very large and dispersed region, with vineyards separated by 100km from north to south, Abruzzo is divided into many sub-regions, and there are also DOCs such as Controguerra that permit the use of non-Italian varieties such as Chardonnay or Merlot. Only someone steeped in the detail of Abruzzo terroir would be able to identify the many sub-zones for Montepulciano in the glass. Only one is of real importance: Colline Teramane, Abruzzo’s only DOCG. Located around the town of Teramo on clay and limestone soils in the region’s north, the wines from here have noticeable concentration and depth – but so can regular Montepulciano made elsewhere from low-yielding vines.

Producers in Abruzzo

Torre dei Beati

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The winery’s aim is  to express, through extremely careful selections in the vineyard and at the winery, the best of the native grapes grown in the Loreto Aprutino area.

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