Article by Carla Benvenuto
Whenever talking about wines from Abruzzo, the first thought goes to Montepulciano. That’s right. It is impossible to consider Abruzzo wines without mentioning, among red wines, the most representative of this region.
Montepulciano is a native black grape variety of central Italy, mostly cultivated in Abruzzo, Marche and Umbria regions. This vine variety is of utmost importance because it gives origin to the main enological denominations of our country. Just think of the Montepulciano D’Abruzzo DOC or Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Colline Teramane DOCG or Tullum DOCG. Moreover, Montepulciano grape variety serves as the fundamental basis for renowned wines of the Marche region, such as Offida Rosso DOCG, Rosso Piceno Superiore DOP, Rosso Conero DOC and Rosso Conero Riserva DOCG.
It is often mistakenly confused with the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, but there is a substantial difference. While Montepulciano D’Abruzzo is a type of grape variety, the Nobile di Montepulciano is a wine named after the Tuscan city from which it originates. The latter is made mostly with Sangiovese grapes.
The Montepulciano vine has a medium, pentagonal leaf with medium bunch density and a pyramid-like or conical shape. The blue-black berries are medium-sized with a firm, thick and pruinose skin.
The result is a wine with different features depending on whether it is used in purity or in blend with other grape varieties. Usually, 100% Montepulciano grape wines have very distinctive characteristics: an intense ruby-red colour, with fruity and spicy aromas, while on the palate round and smooth tannins, full-bodied and elegant with a lasting finish.
Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Colline Teramane DOCG
The Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Colline Teramane DOCG* (“Montepulciano of Teramo hills”) requires the use of 100% Montepulciano grapes – sometimes the use of only 10% of Sangiovese grape is allowed.
It is mandatory that production, vinification and bottling occur inside the coastal and inland hills in Teramo Province. Possible rare exceptions must be allowed by the MIPAAF, i.e. Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies (Italy).
This DOCG regulation results in still red wines that undergo a strict production protocol:
- a minimum of one year ageing period for the standard version, spending at least 2 months refining in the bottle;
- a minimum of three years ageing period for the Riserva, spending at least one year in wooden barrels and at least 2 months refining in the bottle.
*DOCG: (‘Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita’) or Controlled and Guaranteed Area of Origine is an appellation for Italian wines protected by consortia regulated by Ministerial Decree 256/97.
Turan: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane DOCG, Torri Cantine winery
I am a huge fan of Montepulciano, in particular of Colline Teramane DOCG wines. Since we are at the end of our journey through Montepulciano’s story, I cannot fail to taste Turan of Torri Cantine winery, an excellent expression of this territory and denomination.
The grapes are cultivated in the Colonella and Controguerra districts, in an over 40-year-old vineyard 290 meters above sea level. Grapes are manually harvested around the 20th/30th of October.
The vinification occurs in stainless steel tanks under a controlled temperature. At the end of malolactic fermentation, wine ages for 10 months in wooden barrels, and completes its ageing after 6 more months in the bottles.
This wine’s appearance has a beautiful, intense ruby-red colour. On the nose, it releases the aromas that perfectly characterize this grape and its terroir: floral and fruity with spiced notes and scents of cocoa, tobacco and coffee. The warm, fulfilling mouthfeel envelopes the whole palate. This round, smooth wine has a gentile tannin confirming the nose sensations, adding pleasant balsamic notes and an intense finish.
For sure, it is a Montepulciano that is able to ‘throw’ you into a land of expert winemakers such as Abruzzo. Especially so, on the hills of Teramo, where the capable hands of Cantine Torri work respecting the nature, paying the utmost attention from the vine to the winery achieving high-quality wines, the rightful expression of their precious terroir.