Viticulture in Abruzzo
The first vines were planted in Abruzzo during the 7th century B.C. by the Etruscans and were praised in later times by both Greek and Roman historians and authors. Today, some 33,000 hectares of vineyards produce around four million hectolitres of wine per year, largely from cooperative wineries. For this reason, around 90% are everyday and mass wines and have more or less only local significance. Since the 2000s, however, a movement has begun among a growing number of winegrowers to improve the quality of their wines, which is now reflected in a number of excellent wineries.
Climate and soil in Abruzzo
The vineyards in Abruzzo extend from the coast towards the Apennines up to an altitude of 600 metres. For this reason, the climate is characterised by sometimes extreme temperature differences between day and night and between summer and winter, depending on the region. Both on the coast and in the hilly areas a calcareous clay soil predominates. However, there are also zones with sandy and gravel soils
The most important grape varieties for Abruzzo wine
The clear number 1 among the grape varieties is the red Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, a pleasing wine with a pleasant fruit and little bitterness, which is particularly suitable as an accompaniment to Italian cuisine. The Montepulciano d'Abruzzo should not be confused with the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which comes from Tuscany.
Depending on the growing area, the wine pressed must contain 85 to 95% Montepulciano and may be blended with 5 to 15% of other authorised grapes. The result is usually a red wine with an alcohol content of about 14% vol. with strong tannins and intense aromas. Montepulciano is not suitable for long ageing. When matured in barrique barrels, it will keep for about five to eight years.
A characteristic is the Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo. This is a rosé made from the Montepulciano grape, which is also popular in Germany, but is very strong and is not necessarily a light and palatable summer wine.
Among the white vines, Trebbiano dominates, from which the winemakers make the DOC wine Trebbiano d'Abruzzo. For this classification it must come from one of more than 170 authorised municipalities in the provinces of L'Aquila, Chieti, Teramo or Pescara and must contain at least 85% Trebbiano or Bombino Bianco. The remaining proportion may come from other authorised vines. For several years now, some winegrowers have also been experimenting with the autochthonous varieties Pecorino and Cococciola, to which no attention was paid for a long time.
Other varieties for Abruzzo wine
In addition to the above-mentioned grape varieties, the following grapes are used on a much smaller scale for wine production.
Classifications in Abruzzo
Eight wines in the region fall under the DOC classification:
The highest quality level is found in the DOCG area of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Colline Teramane. There, red and rosé wines are matured, and after two years of ageing, the red wines are allowed to bear the designation "Riserva".
The following IGT wines are also available:
Colli del Sangro
Del Vastese or Histonium
Terre di Chieti
Wine growing-region Abruzzo
The Abruzzo region is known for its mass wines suitable for everyday use. Little by little, however, a generation of winegrowers is emerging, producing excellent wines from the well-known vines such as Montepulciano and Trebbiano, but also from lesser known varieties such as Pecorino and Cococciola, which are also enthusiastically received beyond the region and internationally.
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