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Situated on the east coast of central Italy, between the mountains and the sea, Abruzzo is a wine region which has the best of all possible worlds. Beautiful and varied terroir, with blazing sunshine and cooling breezes blowing off the Adriatic, history and modernity, and an independent spirit supported by generations of tradition and expertise. This is a wine region with a serious past, stretching back to the very origins of wine production in Europe - the Etruscans were the first to cultivate vines here, and the Romans lent their industrious and forward-thinking minds to viticulture in Abruzzo, something which is still felt today if you wander among the villages and vineyards.
Abruzzo has over 90,000 acres of land dedicated to wine production and grape-growing, and is the fifth most productive wine region in Italy. The majority of viticultural activity takes place in the hillier regions, where the microclimates are ideal for the historic vineyards, particularly around the sub-region of Chieti, which produces plenty of sunny and characterful wines ranging from Pinot Grigio to Sangiovese and crowd-pleasing Merlots. The climatic conditions of Abruzzo are particularly favorable, with this region seeing a fine balance of rainfall and sunshine, allowing for a long and bountiful ripening season which sees the grapes reach full ripeness and provides plenty of expression of terroir.
Abruzzo has one DOCG, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane, where we find beautiful blended red wines made from Montepulciano and Sangiovese varietals. It also has three DOC regions, based around these red grapes as well as white varietals such as Trebbiano.
There are few countries in the world with a viticultural history as long or as illustrious as that claimed by Italy. Grapes were first being grown and cultivated on Italian soil several thousand years ago by the Greeks and the Pheonicians, who named Italy 'Oenotria' – the land of wines – so impressed were they with the climate and the suitability of the soil for wine production. Of course, it was the rise of the Roman Empire which had the most lasting influence on wine production in Italy, and their influence can still be felt today, as much of the riches of the empire came about through their enthusiasm for producing wines and exporting it to neighbouring countries. Since those times, a vast amount of Italian land has remained primarily for vine cultivation, and thousands of wineries can be found throughout the entire length and breadth of this beautiful country, drenched in Mediterranean sunshine and benefiting from the excellent fertile soils found there. Italy remains very much a 'land of wines', and one could not imagine this country, its landscape and culture, without it.
The name of this grape, meaning 'blood of Jove' conjures up evocative images of long dead civilizations, and gives the Sangiovese varietal a sense of the holy, the sacred, the special. Indeed, this particular type of Italian grape has been cultivated and processed for thousands of years, and is said to be the original favorite grape varietal of the Romans, and the Etruscans before them. Throughout history, vintners have continued to plant this varietal, and they continue to produce wonderful wines to this day. The long bunches of very dark, round fruit are treasured by fine wineries in Italy and a few other places around the world, and when young, these grapes are lively – full of strawberry flavors and a little spiciness. However, it is when they are aged in oak that they take on some truly special flavors and aromas, as seen in some of the finest wines of the Old World.