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A Rising Star in Italy’s Coastal Adriatic Region of Abruzzo

Join us for a tasting of three wines that are some of the finest representations of the climate and traditions of the Abruzzo region of Italy. Azienda Agricola Tiberio wines are hard to come by so quantities are limited.

The reality of Abruzzo is that many farmers find it convenient to join cooperatives and force production well beyond the limits of quality rather than make their own wine. The shame of it is that the region’s sunny hills are more than capable of producing outstanding wines, and a new generation of grower/producers aims to show the world what’s possible when the focus is on creating wines that speak of place.

While the Abruzzo estates of Emidio Pepe and Valentini have long been recognized as two of Italy’s top producers, a handful of winemakers are rising to prominence behind them with Tiberio leading the way. Tiberio holds near 74 acres in the Cugnoli area of Pescarese (one of the four zones of Abruzzo), a far cooler microclimate than the neighboring coastal areas. Wider diurnal temperature variations are the norm in Cugnoli so its white wines tend toward freshness with the potential for development in the cellar, while its Montepulciano wines are some of Abruzzo’s most refined.

It was there that Riccardo Tiberio discovered a plot of old Trebbiano Abruzzese vines around 1,200 feet elevation and decided to swap a career in wine export for running a family winery. In 2008, he handed over the reins to his daughter Cristiana and son Antonio. The role of viticulturalist goes to Antonio while Cristiana handles the winemaking duties. She is a chemistry graduate with training stints in Champagne and Australia backed by repeated visits to the Mosel and Chablis. She took over all the winemaking duties in 2011 and is now solely responsible for the wines made at the estate.

A recent visit with Cristiana at her vineyards and cellar confirm what we’ve already tasted in her wines. The main goal of the estate is producing wines that clearly express the characteristics of the land they come from and the specific varieties that have adapted there. In Cristiana’s words: “One of the most important things for me in being a vigneron and making wines is to work just with massal selections. What is so unique in my wines are my biotypes, because they are the historical and authentic clones for each variety that I saved and propagated in order to express and respect the original flavors and aromas. These biotypes are unique and belong just to me, so they today represent the identity of my wines.”

 

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (2013)
~$19/bottle SOLD OUT

From a plot of 52 year old Montepulciano vines grown in clay-calcareous soil. Intense aromas of cherry and flint before dense, sappy fruit with a snappy finish. It’s a versatile red wine that won’t become ponderous in the heat of summer. The most respected and influential Italian wine guide, Gambero Rosso, has bestowed Tre Bicchieri (Three Glasses, their highest rating) for this vintage. This is Abruzzo’s Montepulciano grape at its most pure.

 

Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo (2015)
~$21/bottle  SOLD OUT

“Fonte Canale” (Trebbiano d’Abruzzo 2014)
~$41/bottle

 

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Posted on 2016.08.03 in Abruzzo, Italy, Saturday Sips

 

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