If you like high mountains, rolling hills and lots of green as well as the ocean and a wonderful cuisine, Abruzzo, Italy is the place for you!
- 20% set aside as parks
- 65% mountains
- 34% hilly where the wines are grown
- only 1% flat is flat!
- is known as the greenest area of Italy,
- has the highest peaks in the main part of Italy, the Gran Sasso
Today and tomorrow, the Italian Wine Food Travel group of writers (#ItalianWFT) is focusing on the Pecorino grape and the regions where it comes from, Abruzzo and Le Marche, both located along the eastern coastline of Italy near the “calf” of the boot. Marche is the original home of Pecorino, and it’s in red on the map, while Abruzzo is just below it.
Here on Wine Predator, we want to introduce you to Abruzzo in general, and three organic wines specifically, then tomorrow we’ll talk about an Abruzzo Pecorino from Ferzo along with the other members of the Italian Food Wine Travel group. Scroll down for links to participants, and join us tomorrow at 8am Pacific for a chat on twitter by following the hashtag #ItalianWFT.
According to lectures in the VinItaly Wine Ambassador Course I took in LA in February 2019, being so mountainous and hilly has led to many small regional specialities when it comes to wine and to cuisine. In Abruzzo, specialties include: Spaghetti a chitara, cacciocavallo (cheese like a saddle bag.), sheep and goat…
In the 13thcentury saffron was worth the same as a horse!
Cut east from the mountains to west to the sea by river valleys, the abundance of water and altitude makes Abuzzo so green, and the greenest area of all is the Abruzzo DOC where 60% of the wines produced is red, particularly Montepulciano, but they are famous for their whites also, especially trebbiano.
Oops! Don’t call it Trebbiano Abuzzo – it’s Abruzzese!
Or so I learned in the VinItaly Wine Ambassador Course.
This specific type of trebbiano is cultivated only in Abruzzo, but the DOC allows for any combination of trebbiano. One of the challenges of growing trebbiano is it drops acidity quickly so must be picked early. High levels of polyphenols require a more reductive style of winemaking. Suggested pairings include roasted fatty fish.
It’s Montepulciano – don’t call me Vino Nobile!
Enjoyable immediately as well as 10 years down the road, Montepulciano d”Abuzzo tends to be plump and generous and deeply colored with sweet tannins and low acidity. The fruity softness gives it its accessibility when young, and makes it a great gateway wine full of red fruit, dark cherry fruits, plum, spice, licorice.
The soul expresses itself in the clay soils of the DOCG, says Dr. SCIENZA
In Abruzzo, they swear by pergola traning. First mentioned in 1792, it was often confused with sangiovese. It’s a difficult wine in the vineyard because it has asynchronous maturation, it’s prone to reduction, and it has high anthocyanin levels. It comes in two styles: the traditional darker toned and in “rose”.
2017 – Valle Reale cerasuaolo D’Abruzzo – 12.5% alcohol $15
rose made from organic montepulciano grapes
sample for my review consideration
Color: Light salmon, much lighter in the glass than in the bottle.
Nose: Sulphuric funk hits right away, with a little bit of flint, saline as well.
Palate: Mineral rich with nice acidity. It has a very clean finish that is a bit mouthwatering. This is not your rose all day wine. It is more like a white wine that happens to be pink. This is not fruity at all.
Pairing: Without food it is difficult to tell that there is any fruit in this wine, however when following a slice of cured meat like salami or pepperoni, the fruit comes out nicely. It likes a triple cream brie, and Sue could imagine it would do well with a funky rined cheese. We imagined that this would be a great pizza wine. It is lends itself to food and was so good with the smoked Scarmanzo, definitely a wow moment for Sue. Neither one of us felt that this wine was as good with the carbonara as it was with the Scarmanzo. We dreamed of a grilled cheese sandwich made with the smoked Scarmanzo paired with this wine. It would be out of this world. It also went well with the salad because we drizzled some of the olive oil from our orange olive oil goat cheese over the salad. Not great with the fresh mozzarella, but loved the tomato with the olive oil. Great pizza wine.
2017 – Valle Reale Trebbiano D’ Abruzzo – 12% alcohol $16
Color: Pale straw
Nose: Lots of musk and funk, smells a bit like an estuary where the salt and fresh waters meet.
Palate: Eureka lemon, very light, refreshing with a light body, there isn’t any oak or anything getting in the way of experiencing this bright fresh wine. Alone, there isn’t a lot of complexity in the wine, but it screams for food.It is like a primed canvas
Pairing: Imagine oysters, seafood, sand dabs, white fish, We did not care for this wine with a triple cream brie, and the pecorino cheese was not good at all with this wine, however with a nice creamy herbed chevre. With bites of our entire meal, I found an essence of Jasmine tea when sipping the wine. It loves garlic and lemon. The wine was alright with the carbonara, but Sue did not think it was fabulous bu really liked it. It did however love the salad. The fresh mozzarella, tomato drizzled with orange fennel olive oil and a quality balsamic; just fantastic!
If you have a decently made wine with the right food and it would be fantastic. You could have the best wine, but with the wrong food it will only be mediocre.
2017 – Valle Reale – Montepulciano D’Abruzzo – 12.5% alcohol $17
Color: Plum with a violet rim, dark, deep and rich
Nose: Lots of dark stone fruit on the nose, plums, cherries, forest floor, loamy earth and violets, wild pennyroyal, like walking through a meadow after a rain. Gwen “it smells like a pizza wine”
Palate: Mint, eucalyptus, bright fresh cherry, nice finish of silty earth, even tannins, medium to light bodied, clean lengthy finish. While this wine was alright on its own it is going to lend itself to food so much more.
Pairing Loved this wine with the pecorino cheese, bringing out an interesting complexity in both the wine and the cheese as it lingers. The richness of the carbonara loves the wine, but the flavor profile is not perfect. It is fine, but we wanted more. We craved pizza with this wine. Great with the Scarmoza cheese. Great with the fresh mozzarella and tomato from the salad.
Tomorrow, part 2 of my post about four wines from Abruzzo — with tomorrow’s focus on Pecorino from Ferzo! Here are others who will be participating in the twitter chat and who will be sharing what they learned about Pecorino from Italy’s Abruzzo and Marche regions!
Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla will dazzel us with “Oven-Roasted Trout with Citrus Salsa Crudo + 2017 Lunaria “Civitas” Pecorino”
Gwendolyn, the Wine Predator is “Pairing Pecorino d’Abuzzo from Ferzo: Lemon Caper Shrimp #ItalianFWT”
Linda at My Full Wine Glass shares “Sheepish about new kinds of wine? Try Pecorino! #ItalianFWT”
Cindy at Grape Experiences does a “Twirl. Sip. Savor. Creamy Garlic Shrimp with Linguini with 2016 Tenuta Cocci Grifoni Offida Pecorino Colle Vecchio”
Lauren at The Swirling Dervish asks “Looking for a New White Wine to Serve this Spring? Try Pecorino from Tenuta Santori in Italy!”
Susannah from Avvinare shares “Pecorino from the Lady from Le Marche – Angela Velenosi- Velenosi Vini”
Jeff at Food Wine Click goes “On the Hunt for the Pecorino Grape”
David from Cooking Chat shares “Roasted Asparagus Pasta with Pecorino”
Jennifer at Vino Travels discovers “Grape of the Sheep with Umani Ronchi Pecorino”
Steven from Steven’s Wine and Food Blog cooks up a “Brodetto di Pesce Wine Pairing #ItalianFWT”
Katarina at Grapevine Adventures discusses “Le Marche & Abruzzo – Two Regions… Two Expressions of Pecorino”
Kevin from SnarkyWine is sharing Pecorino recently enjoyed.
Lynn at Savor the Harvest, is “Discovering the Pecorino Grape #ItalianFWT”