Curious Small Sips #27: Abruzzo

Abruzzo lies between the Adriatic Sea and the Apennines in the cradle of the two massifs of the Gran Sasso d’Italia and the Majella. The land can be roughly divided into two areas: the mountainous interior, which constitutes over 65% of the entire regional territory and the coastal region. The production areas are confined almost totally to the hilly area and, in particular, the province of Chieti.

The region boasts ideal conditions for the cultivation of high quality wine with plentiful, but not excessive, rainfall, a mild climate and close proximity to the sea. These factors combined make for strong diurnal temperature variations, itself a marker for fabulously complex and age worthy wine –– so why was it once considered unsuitable for premium vine viticulture? With the exception of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and rich, full-bodied white Trebbiano d’Abruzzo the area had a lacklustre reputation, with the abundant Montepulciano grape somewhat unfairly dismissed as merely a ‘workhorse grape’ most suited to bulk blending. Things, however are evolving. In 2022 the central Italian region’s wines were consolidated under a single IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica called Terre D’Abruzzo which local winemakers are hoping will prove as popular as Sicily’s ultra-successful IGT, ‘Terrre Siciliane’.

A large amount of native vines are also growing in popularity such as Pecorino, Passerina, Cococciola, Trebbiano d’Abruzzese and Montonico. Now Abruzzo is beginning to be talked about for the quality and value of its wines (not to mention its fabulous coastline and beautiful rural scenery) and may not remain Italy’s best kept secret for much longer.

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