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The Wines of Abruzzo

Wines of Abruzzo Abruzzo’s wine list is a short wine, as the region essentially conducts a simplified wine classification system grounded in two principal offerings: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. It’s a list that many, nevertheless, are quite familiar with, given Abruzzo’s high and undiscriminating turnout of both….One may naturally assume that Abruzzo is inherently deficient, lacking the essential elements necessary to support quality wine production. However, its microclimate and terroir are actually quite well suited to the cultivation of grapes. Others attribute Abruzzo’s failure to realize its potential to its favored white grape—Trebbiano, Italy’s most ubiquitous white varietal, the primary distinction of which lies, in fact, in its productivity, as it basically turns out the same performance regardless of where it is grown.

There’s no excuse, however, when it comes to the red grape in question— Montepulciano—which essentially offers the virtual antithesis of its fellow white, delivering a profile comprised of generous black fruits, low acidity, and sweet tannins. Despite such ample provision, an emphasis on quantity rendered it the most exported DOC wine—as well as one of the most lacking in distinction. In recent years, however, producers have sought to maximize Montepulciano’s rich core of black and purple fruits through aging in barrique and rigorous processes of selection, producing concentrated offerings. Then there are those producers who have always performed far above the mainstream, demonstrating the remarkable inherent potential not only of Montepulciano, but of the lowly Trebbiano as well. In fact, the work of Abruzzo’s foremost practitioners—the late Edoardo Valentini and Emidio Pepe—has enabled the wines derived from these grapes to share the company of Italy’s most esteemed natives.
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Per Linda Cerasuolo 2015 750ml
Per Linda Cerasuolo 2015 750ml
Price: $12.99

Offering a vibrant cherry hue, this wine bursts with succulent vine-ripened blackberries, crisp orchard fruits, dew-laden roses and crushed saline minerals; it’s a treat for the senses! A gentle but persistent acidity complements the fruit-forward flavors of this ’15 Cerasuolo, and cheek-piquing minerals linger on the finish, making this charming wine very food-friendly. Grapes ferment in temperature-controlled steel for about two weeks, and the wine ages in stainless steel for six months before bottling. Cerasuolo, the Abbruzzese word for "rosé," shows us how delicious and practical a blush wine made from the Montepulciano grape can be; pair it with classic fish dishes of the Adriatic, as well as pizza and tomato-based pastas. more info
Per Linda Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2018 750ml
Per Linda Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2018 750ml
Price: $12.99

Intense and vibrant, this ’18 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo bursts with brambly blue and juicy red fruits, crushed river rocks, pressed violets, new leather, and kisses of spice. Nicely tannic and vividly acidic, this wine over-delivers at its price point, and it’s a terrific complement to a range of foods--from meaty tomato-based pastas, to burgers off the grill to hard cheeses and cured meats. Deriving from a southeast-facing clay vineyard that sits about 650 feet above sea level, the grapes for this wine ferment in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks for about two weeks, after which the wine ages in stainless steel for a year before bottling, where it rests for six months before release. more info
Valentini Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2015 750ml
Valentini Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2015 750ml
Price: $129.00

Valentini’s 2015 Trebbiano d’Abruzzo is devastatingly good. Copious layers of stone, tropical, and citrus fruits seamlessly meld with wild herbs, saline minerals, pressed wildflower petals, and sun-warmed earth in this irrationally beautiful wine. This powerfully complex Trebbiano glides across the palate with a creamy silkiness, animated by its vivid acidity and elegant mineral core. You’re going to want to drink the exceptional ’15 Trebbiano right away, but a couple years in the cellar will reveal the true beauty of this dazzling wine. Valentini crafts this Trebbiano using very traditional methods, including fermentation with indigenous yeasts in glass-lined cement tanks and extended aging in neutral oak botti, aged at least 70 years. While you could drink this outstanding Trebbiano upon release, it’ll age for upwards of a decade, possibly longer. more info
Valentini Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2014 750ml
Valentini Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2014 750ml
Price: $149.00

Crisp orchard fruits and juicy stone fruits wrap around a core of savory minerals, crushed mint, pressed white flowers, white pepper and touches of toasted nuts in this banner vintage 2014 Trebbiano d'Abruzzo. While 2014 was a challenging vintage, Valentini’s strict low grape yields enabled the estate to craft a superb wine that dwells in its opposites. Creamy yet vibrant, fat yet precise, this wine fills the mouth with a cascade of textures as it complements its sweet perfume with saline minerals, and builds to a clean, pure, and lingering finish. Valentini crafts this Trebbiano using very traditional methods, including fermentation with indigenous yeasts in glass-lined cement tanks and extended aging in neutral oak botti. While you could drink this outstanding Trebbiano upon release, it’ll age for upwards of a decade, possibly longer. more info
Valentini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2000 750ml
Valentini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2000 750ml
Price: $375.00

Deep purple in color, the ’00 vintage offers a complex bouquet of ripe dark fruit, tobacco, and pepper. This rich and intense, velveteen-palate wine offers black currant jam, cocoa, truffles, and spice, with a strong backbone and tannins that provide for a marathon finish. This Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is one of Italy's most sought-after wines and a cellar trophy for the collector. The late, great Lord of the Vines, Edoardo Valentini, put this wine on the global map with his elegantly rustic, unfiltered red produced from late harvest grapes grown on vines of 25-35 years of ages. The production varies by vintage, but one thing is certain: the wine's ability to deliver concentration and agebility. more info
Valentini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 1997  750ml
Valentini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 1997 750ml
Price: $699.00

Rich, structured and elegant, this ’97 offers tremendous harmony among its elements, balancing its juicy, succulent fruit with brooding notes, its acidity with sweetness, and its velvety tannins with all the rest. This "wild" wine is difficult to describe, bringing together attributes of a great Hermitage and a Taurasi, but it remains uniquely Valentini. While delivering a concentrated expression upon release, Valentini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo requires several years to develop its full profile of black licorice, smoke, ash, leather, and game; a significant period of aeration is requisite to approach the wine meaningfully prior to that time. Remarkably vibrant and fresh even at more than two decades old, a vintage Valentini d’Abruzzo offers a patina of smokiness, notes of tar and black olives, and remarkable mellowness and integration to its components. more info
Valentini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 1994 750ml
Valentini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 1994 750ml
Price: $699.00

A singular bottling from the hands of the “Lord of the Vines,” Edoardo Valentini himself, this brooding, umami-laden, knockout 1994 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo is a classic bottling of this cult wine. Now with more than twenty years of perfect maturity, this wine is coming into its own, offering its full profile of black licorice, smoke, ash, leather, and game. Remarkably vibrant and fresh even at more than two decades old, this vintage Valentini d’Abruzzo offers a patina of smokiness, notes of tar and black olives, and remarkable mellowness and integration to its components. In any vintage, Valentini's Montepulciano is a provocative, sublime rendition crafted from late-harvest grapes, made only in exceptional vintage years, and crafted only from the choicest grapes. Ripe, rich, and concentrated, Valentini's Montepulciano always needs a few years to coalesce; this '94 is a rare, gorgeous wonder, and it's our pleasure to put it in cellars like yours! more info
Valentini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 1973 750ml
Valentini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 1973 750ml
Price: $899.00

Astoundingly supple, fresh, and graceful, this ’73 stays light on its feet despite its brooding notes, saline minerality, and more than four decades of age. Drinking a vintage Valentini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is like drinking a perfect campfire: licks of cherry-red and black fruits dance with sunbaked earth, charcoal minerals, and exotic spices. This ’73 shows tremendous balance among its elements, and it crescendos in a lingering tannin-laced finish. This "wild" wine is difficult to describe, bringing together attributes of a great Hermitage and a Taurasi, but it remains uniquely Valentini. While delivering a concentrated expression upon release, Valentini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo requires several years to develop its full profile of black licorice, smoke, ash, leather, and game; a significant period of aeration is requisite to approach the wine meaningfully prior to that time. more info