Stretching from the Adriatic Sea to the jagged Apennines mountains, Abruzzo has the most national parks and forests of any region in Italy. Famous for being green and frequently referred to as “the lung” of Italy, Abruzzo’s rivers cut through from the mountains through the hills where the wine grows.
The mountain slopes of Abruzzo define the people, the wine, and the cuisine that comes from this place. The rugged terrain ensured diversity of all three!
Abruzzo’s winemaking tradition began before the first century B.C. — when the poet Ovid, a native of the Abruzzo city Sulmona, sang the praises of local grapes.
Two important wines we’d like to sing the praises of are:
- Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, a red wine made from the Montepulciano wine grape
- Trebianno d’Abruzzo a white grape variety also called Trebbiano Abruzzese.
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.
What confuses people is that there are THREE Montepulciano wines!
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a red wine made from the Montepulciano wine grape. Rosso di Montepulciano and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano are NOT made with Montipulciano grapes, but Sangiovese.
Montepulciano d”Abuzzo tends to be plump, 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. It can age for 10 years or more to add complexity and soften the tannins.
The soul of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo expresses itself in the clay soils of the DOCG, says Dr. Scienza as cited in my VinItaly Wine Ambassador course February 2019.
This month, David Crowley of Cooking Chat hosts the Italian the Italian Food Wine Travel group’s investigation in to the wines of Abruzzo. While these two grapes dominate the regions wines, small plantings and wine production of the nearly forgotten varieties such as Moscatello, Pecorino and Passerina are also starting to gain recognition. For example, in spring, the group focused on Pecorino from Marche and Abruzzo.
Parmasano Reggiano, Pecorino, Black Pepper crusted Toscano. Soprisetto, Fennel Salami, salt cured olives
Greens with blue cheese and croutons
Ravoli in marinara with simmered spicy Italian sausages
Just because you have a special wine like these three Montepulciano doesn’t mean you have to spend hours in the kitchen! We used quality but purchased ingredients — sauce and sausages simmered for as long as possible along with fresh grated parmesan.
2017 – Codice Citra – Trebbiano d’ Abruzzo – 12% alcohol – SRP $10
Sample for my review consideration.
Color: Pale yellow
Nose: Underlying fruit, green apple, salinity, eucalyptus, asian pear, unripe pear
Palate: Unremarkable, pleasant, mild, a bit of acidity on the finish.
BUT OH MY! Once you try this wine with food? It’s amazing!
Pairing: Likes a good quality parmesan, very nice with a pecorino the wine tames the cheese and gives the wine a zing. Also fantastic with our pepper rined Toscano cheese. White wines do not usually like the strong flavored cheeses and cured meats. But this wine loves the rich salty bold flavors. It can even take on a salt cured olive. What a great wine with an Italian sub. We were totally unimpressed with this wine when we were trying to pair it with creamy french cheeses which did not work with the wine at all. Not fantastic with the sausage or ravoli and red sauce. This wine can carry itself through an Italian restaurant meal. However, we would stop after first course salad with this wine. Or just take it to a picnic.
2013 – Codice Citra – Caroso – Montepulciano D’ Abruzzo – 14.3% Alcohol – SRP $35
Sample for my review consideration.
“Caro” in Italian means elegant, rich and valued. The grapes in Caroso were planted in 1960 in calcareous soils on hillsides 1k above the Adriatic Sea alongside olive trees and wildflowers. Only 12k bottles are made of this hand crafted wine which is typically aged for two years before bottling and then released the following year.
Color: Rich dense, cherry plum, garnet, with a ruby rim. Lots of color for an older wine
Nose: Cherry, the sweetness of a cherry pipe tobacco. There is an earthiness on the nose, damp loamy soil. The nose is inviting and seductive
Palate: When it makes it to your palate it is so very pleasant. Cherry, clay silt, acidity on the finish with a very interesting texture.
Pairing: Italian wines with all their acidity really handle salt so very well, cured meats, salt cured olives, and salty cheeses sing with this wine. Good with the Pecorino, and the Parm, but fantastic with the Toscano. Not bad with the salad, but not great. It was friends with the blue cheese dressing. Good with the ravioli, but fantastic with the Italian sausage. The acidity in the wine balances in the heat in the sausage, it also brings forth a sweetness to the fruit in the wine. The heat tames the acidity.
2012 – Codice Citra Lavs Vitae – Montepulciano D’ Abruzzo – 14.9% alcohol – SRP $40
Sample for my review consideration.
Made from grapes planted 40 years ago at 900+ feet above sea level, Lavs Vitae is the best wine that Codice Citra has to offer.
Color: Dense and red, you cannot see the bottom of the glass, not because of being unfiltered but because of the color. Maroon theatre curtains with a rich red rim.
Nose: Cherry, cherry cola, cherry vanilla, a bit of mint, mulberry.
Palate: There is a cleanliness to the wine with a very smooth texture is smooth and plenty of acidity even being a 2012. It seems like a very young wine!
Pairing: Not surprising again, it goes so well with the salty cheeses and cured meat. The creaminess of the toscano cheese balances out the acidity of the wine. While pairing this wine with the cheese and meat plate, I just wanted to have that Italian cold cut sandwich. Sue was all over the Italian sausage stating that “That could be in a sub sandwich as well.” The wine likes the tomato sweetness in the marinara too.
This is a big beautiful heavy hitting Italian wine.
2015 – Yume – Montepulciano D’ Abruzzo – 13% alcohol – SRP $25
Sample for my review consideration.
As we were going through our tastings, Marshall came home with yet another bottle of wine from Abruzzo. Thank you Donna White!
Sign us up for this wine by the glass. This wine is so easy to drink! And it will then again carry through to the meal.
Many times we have talked about having European wines as wine by the glass that just do not work until they have been paired with food. This is a wine that dispells that hypothesis. This is a european wine that can be sipped on its own, and then be enjoyed while eating your meal.
Color: Dense in the color of scarlett, not because the wine is refined, but because the color is so rich and beautiful.
Nose: Sweet cherry cordial
Palate: Fruity cherry on the palate as well. There is not a great complexity to this wine. But it is so yummy and easy to drink. Like a big hug.
Pairing: We wanted this wine with eggplant parmesan. The dry parm brings out a chocolate quality in the wine. The toscano cheese just shines with the juicy Montepulciano. We both love, love, loved it with the salty pecorino. Also so yummy with the salty cured meats. Sue wanted this wine with a pizza. I agreed, great pizza wine. Super rich wine loving the cured meat and rich tomato sauce. So good with the salad dressed with blue cheese. I want to order this wine as a house wine at an Italian restaurant. Yummy with the ravoli, and while Sue was completly satisfied at how the meal was coming together, I just wanted to stay with the salad. Sue fell in love with the marinara and the heat followed by the fruity wine. Sue felt that this was a wine that could go from appetizer to dessert with the right dessert. A fresh fruit Zabagloine might go very nicely with this wine. We did not have it to try but just imagined it would go well due to the big bold fruit flavors of the wine.
WE LOVE ITALIAN WINE! And these are exceptional — especially paired with Italian food!
Below are the participants and their titles for the October #ItalianFWT Abruzzo event. The articles will be published by Saturday, October 5, 2019.
Steven from Wine and Food Pairings will discuss “Cioppino – Red or White Wine? #Italian FWT”
Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm will share about “The Food and Wines of Abruzzo”
Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla will bring us “Scrippelle ‘mbusse + Ferzo Passerina”
Deanna from Asian Test Kitchen will reveal “5 Iconic Abruzzo Wines to Try from Torre Zambra”
Jen from Vino Travels will share about “The Variety of Abruzzo Wines”
Gwendolyn from Wine Predator from tastes and shares “3 Montepulciano and 1 Trebbiano from d’Abruzzo #ItalianFWT”
Cindy from Grape Experiences from suggests the you “Immerse Yourself in Wines from Abruzzo for a Genuine Taste of Italy”
Pinny from Chinese Food and Wine Pairing is “Celebrating Abruzzo Wines with the Ferzo Passerina, Citra Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Caldora Chardonnay”.
Linda from My Full Wine Glass suggests “Abruzzo wines to pair with fresh fall produce (#ItalianFWT)”
Jeff foodwineclick brings us “Pairing Magic with Ferzo Pecorino and Squash Risotto”
Nicole from Somm’s Table“Cooking to the Wine: Lammidia Anfora Rosso from Abruzzo & Post Roast with Tomatoes and Chickpeas”
David from Cooking Chat Cooking Chat, will share “Baked Haddock with Pasta and White Wine from Abruzzo”.
Susannah from Avvinare will take “A Fresh Look at the Wines of Abruzzo”
Rupal from Syrah Queen will share “Exploring The Wine & Gastronomy of Abruzzo”
Katarina from Grapevine Adventures San Lorenzo Winery – Montepulciano d’Abruzzo between Sea and Mountain
If you would like to share an article for the event, just drop me an email with your name, article and your blog url. Email to davidbcrowley AT gmail.com.
Join the #ItalianFWT Abruzzo Twitter Chat
The live Twitter chat is always a highlight of these wine blogging events! Feel free to tune in whether you are sharing an article or not. It’s a great way to learn more about wines from Abruzzo!
To join the chat, simply tune into the Twitter hashtag #ItalianFWT at 11 a.m. Eastern time on Saturday, October 5.
TWITTER CHAT QUESTIONS
Join us on twitter at 8am Pacific, 11am Eastern for our twitter chat about wines form D’Abruzzo by following the hashtag #ItalianFWT — or check out the chat later by searching for the hashtag. Below you’ll see when we’ll be talking about what:
11:00 am ET
Q1 Welcome to the #ItalianFWT chat about wines from #Abruzzo. Where are you tweeting from? Please introduce yourselves, share a link to your blog if you have one.
11:05 am ET
Q2 Have you had much wine from Abruzzo prior to this #ItalianFWT? Tell us about your experience with Abruzzo wines coming into this event.
Q3 Tell us about the Abruzzo wine you tried for this event! Share your tasting notes and photos! #ItalianFWT
Q4 Is it difficult to find wines from Abruzzo in your area? What Abruzzo wines can you find readily? #ItalianFWT
11:20 am ET
Q5 Has anyone here had a chance to visit #Abruzzo? Tell us about your experience! #ItalianFWT
11:25 am ET
Q6 Did you try some food pairings with your Abruzzo wine? Tell us about your food and please share a tasty photo! #ItalianFWT
11:30 am ET
Q7 How did your food pairings for your Abruzzo wine work out? #ItalianFWT
Q8 Tell us about something interesting you learned about Abruzzo wines getting ready for this event. #ItalianFWT
Q9 OK, rosé lovers, have you tried Cerasualo d’Abruzzo? Tell us what you think about this rosé from Abruzzo! #ItalianFWT #pinksociety
11:45 am ET
Q10 We asked about what you learned about Abruzzo wines. Anything interesting you learned about food from Abruzzo, or the region in general? ItalianFWT
11:50 am ET
Q11 Do you think there’s potential for more Abruzzo wines to be made available in your area? #ItalianFWT
Any last thoughts or discoveries you’d like to share in our last 5 minutes? #ItalianFWT
11:59 am ET
Thank you for joining our chat this month about Abruzzo wines at #ItalianFWT!
Look out for the November #ItalianFWT invitation soon! Continue below to see the theme.
- January: Camilla M. Mann hosts “Italian Wines for Cold Winter Nights”
“4 Montepulciano Paired with Osso Bucco Warms Up Winter Italian Style plus #ItalianWFT plans for 2019”
- February: Jeff Burrows hosts “Umbria, with a focus on Sagrantino”
“Get to Know Sagrantino #ItalianFWT”
- March 2: I’m hosting a Focus on Sustainable Agricultural Practices in Italy
“La Maliosa Biodynamic Procanico and a Pasta Bar with Santa Barbara Uni and Mussels #ItalianFWT #WomensHistoryMonth”
- April: Jason Or Jill Barth hosts “Island Wines of Italy”
“Island Wines of Italy: 3 from Sicily paired with pizza #ItalianFWT”
- May: Lynn Gowdy Marche and the Pecorino grape
“Pairing Pecorino d’Abuzzo from Ferzo: Lemon Caper Shrimp #ItalianFWT”
- June: Katarina Andersson hosts “Lambrusco”
“Bugno Martino’s Organic Lambrusco Defy Expectations #ItalianFWT”
- July: Camilla M. Mann hosts “Prosecco”
3 Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG and Calamari with Lemon Caper Sauce #ItalianFWT
- August: Kevin Gagnon hosts “Northeastern Italy”
“Celebrating Summer with 4 Wines from the NE Mountains of Italy with 4 Vegetarian Courses #ItalianFWT”
- September – Jennifer Gentile Martin hosts “Passito Wines”
“Let Pasqua Put a Little Love in Your Life Appassimento Style #ItalianFWT”
- October – David Crowley hosts “Abruzzo”
“Beautiful Abruzzo: 3 Montepulciano and 1 Trebbiano with simple Italian cuisine #ItalianFWT”
- November: Wendy Klik hosts “Chianti”
- December: Susannah Gold hosts “Lesser Known Wine Regions of Italy (Molise, Basilicata, etc)”
Sounds like the food really picked up the enjoyment of the Trebbiano! A few of the winemakers I met in Abruzzo were really into aging this grape, with interesting results.
Thanks for providing the opportunity to try these wines. You had a nice variety and sometimes it’s not all about the extravagance of the dish but how well the ingredients blend together.
Pingback: Pairing Magic with Ferzo Pecorino and Squash Risotto #ItalianFWT | foodwineclick
Mouth is watering! So much deliciousness you just described. I have to agree that Italian wine does do a spectacular job with salt and the high acidity is very refreshing. I love too that a wine can turn a simple meal into an elegant evening as you’ve shown.
I think the wines sound very food friendly and I love the simple but delicious pairings you chose.
Sounds like you had a great line up. Cool to see how some of the wine came alive with the food.