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Abruzzo

Beautiful snowcapped mountains, an improving provincial economy, a vast National Park with wolf, bear and golden eagles, and some amazing wine – what more could you ask for.  Abruzzo (pronounced a'bruttso) is one of the twenty wine regions in Italy.  Although considered by many to be a part of Southern Italy, with its western border 50 miles from Rome and its Eastern border the Adriatic Sea most would consider Abruzzo central Italy.  The Apennine Mountains occupy the western regions of Abruzzo and the province is even home to the southernmost glacier in Europe.




Wines of Abruzzo

Much like its southern neighbor, Apulia, Abruzzo's historical roots are in the large scale production of bulk wine used for blending and local consumption.  This is changing rapidly however as higher quality boutique wines are come into their own. 
Abruzzo has three DOC's within the province – Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Trebbiano d'Abruzzo (identical areas for red and white wine) and Controguerra.  A very small sub region of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo in the hills surrounding Teramo was granted DOCG status in 1995 and is known as Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Colline



Teramane or small hills of Teramo.

Two indigenous varietals dominate the grape growing in Abruzzo – Montepulciano (mohn-tay pool chee-HAN-oh) a red, and Trebbiano (treb be AH no) a white.
 
Montepulciano is a very dark, late harvested grape that produces a full bodied, deep colored red wine.  If you like a deep flavorful berry laden red wine, with low acidity and manageable tannins without waiting a decade, this wine is for you.  And the best part is that there is an abundance of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo on the market at prices much more affordable than the Nebbiolo's and Chianti's from the Piedmont and Tuscany regions.  Montepulciano d'Abruzzo aged more than two years will be labeled Riserva, however remember the wine is often consumed young.

There is also a rosé style wine made from the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo grape known as Cerasuolo which means "cherry-red".

Trebbiano is a widely grown grape in Italy so it is no surprise that it is popular in Abruzzo.  Trebbiano d'Abruzzo was put on the map in July, 2008 when bottles from the vineyard of Emidio Pepe were served at the G8 Summit in Tokyo.  While much of the wine produced in AbrTrebbiano d'Abruzzo is a dry, light bodied wine generally high in acidity.  The wines tend to be golden in color, fruity, and have a wide variety of floral aromas.  Very affordable and worth a try a generally less than $10 a bottle.


Growing Grapes in Abruzzo

The map at shows the location of the Abruzzo region. 



There are four provinces with Abruzzo, Chieti in the southeast corner, L'Aquila in the west bordering the Apennines, Pescara in the east central, and Teramo in the northeast corner.  The western two thirds of the region are mountainous and the eastern one third is rolling hills.  The winter snows in the Apennines produce ample water for the regions over 33,000 hectares or 82,000 acres of vineyards.  Each year the region produces nearly 24 million cases of wine making it the 7th largest wine producing region in Italy.  The climate is warm and dry on the coast, with cooler areas to the west, closer to the mountains.  The hilly nature of the region can produce significant changes in temperature between day and night, promoting good growing conditions.  However, the growing season can be long (over 3,000 degree days) and there are increasing concerns over warmer and dryer conditions affecting crop yield.  In 2011, it is likely that Italy will lose its position as the number one wine producing country in the world to France.

Quick Facts:

Mountainous wine region in central Italy
Known for Montepulciano and Trebbiano
Italy is likely to lose its number one ranking in wine production to France in 2011

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