Around the late 20th and early 21st centuries, when the main Italian region of Abruzzo was commemorating the success of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, among the most exported DOC red wines in Italy, some farsighted winegrowers understood the cultural importance of highlighting their native land and grapes. Instead of doubling down on the conventional Montepulciano grape range that is responsible for Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Riserva, Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo and more, they began planting Aleatico, Malvasia and Cococciola.
Furthermore, with more young Italian customers looking for more sustainable white wines, white wine producers saw the requirement to integrate their appreciation for native Abruzzese viticulture with natural practices to produce more wines that were much healthier for the land.
As more wineries in the region try out grapes and winemaking practices that wander off beyond the familiarity (and price!) of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, the region deserves recognition as a brand-new hotspot for distinct, imaginative wines.
Organic agriculture, a practice that gets rid of the use of artificial chemical fertilizers, is alive and well in Abruzzo. From micro-plantations to the significant estates, even producers that once held strong beliefs about traditional farming are promptly moving to natural and biodynamic wine making. These local wineries– in spite of regional market competitors– are helping each other adopt a sustainable system to promote healthy harvests and receive the natural accreditation needed to rate in the premium category.
One of the pioneers of the movement, Rodrigo Redmont, runs Talamonti, a family-run estate in the village of Loreto Aprutino, which has actually been producing white wines with a sustainable accreditation since 2001. “We have actually seen a changing generational change by winery owners, particularly women, who are pushing for more opportunities and acknowledgment for the region with higher sensitivity towards sustainable, natural and biodynamic productions,” Redmont stated.
“As a winery, we have 100% renewable resource (wind and solar panel) and are now studying the possibility of recuperating water to use in reservoirs to recuperate and grow biodiversity.”
Abruzzo boasts lots of native and global grape varieties, but until just recently, commercial production focused on Montepulciano and Trebbiano. In the last decade, the growing demand for organic red wines– made from cultivated grapes that do not utilize synthetic fertilizers– is leading manufacturers to deal with native varieties that numerous in the past believed were not fit for quality white wines.
There’s likewise a push in the region to produce higher-quality, superior wines. Cooperative-turned-upmarket wineries like Tenuta Arabona are producing red wines that use unusual local white grapes with distinctive, underrated characters. Try to find white Pecorino and Passerina, as well as Cerasuolo rosé made from Montepulciano grapes. Pecorino is a delicately pale grape with distinct attributes almost solely utilized to produce high-quality white wines. Passerina, also known as Trebbiano di Teramo (after the Teramo hills in northern Abruzzo), boasts high level of acidity and is capable of durability.
The estate-owned winery Torre Zambra is a current success story, breaking the status quo with some ultra-premium whites, including its Passerina “Colle Maggio.” Torre Zambra’s objective is to restore heirloom cultivars– native cultivated varieties of plants that are given from one generation to the other. Exploring the durability of Passerina grapes and grapevines, which can vary in between 20 to 25 years, the Colle Maggio vineyards can produce complex and fragrant whites, helping to bump Abruzzo’s gewurztraminer economy to the leading rack.
Abruzzo is certainly an oenophile destination for those who wish to broaden their gratitude for Italian wine beyond Veneto and Tuscany. The continuous effort to bring more white wine tourism to the area and access to the mountainous, backcountry appeal has actually upped the ante. It’s perhaps more fulfilling than ever for people to detour to the east of Rome to consume Abruzzese red wine, to taste the old and new and possibly see the aspirational vision afoot.