Abruzzo Live in London 2014
ABRUZZO WINE EVENT
On my last visit to Abruzzo, my wife and I visited a small restaurant down by the beach near Francavilla Al Mare. It was late, but we were served with great courtesy by the owner – we were by then the only guests. When the wine arrived – we assumed trebbiano – we asked the restauranteur for a little more detail but she just murmured locale. The wine was as enchanting as the starlight and the lapping of the waves; it was perfumed as of pines. I heard later that the very word trebbiano has connotations of “local” and “from the farm.” It certainly felt like that, that evening.
When I was invited to a wine tasting in London hosted by Gambero Rosso and Consorzio Tutela Vini D’Abruzzo it brought back such sweet memories of Abbruzo and perhaps an opportunity to track down that special wine.
Two master classes or seminars were an important feature of the event – one for Abruzzo reds and one for whites. I chose to go to the white grape class led by Marco Sabellico, highly respected wine taster and Vini D’Italia editor. The main white grape of Abruzzo is of course Trebbiano, but the seminar included examples of Passerina and Pecorino varieties: the first, La Cascina del Colle, was an apricot flavoured wine with a good mineral after taste – so well made! Then there was the Pecorino Superiore Fontefico 2013 with again a good mineral reach and would be ideal with roasted fish; then a late harvest Abruzzo Pecorino Dorad’oro 2013, Dora Sarchese, a tremendously golden, full-bodied white, sumptuous, almost a desert wine – and others, of course – all wines of distinction.
Then the surprise of the afternoon – it was time for the rosés to take centre stage; surprise and delight! These included a very interesting Trebbiano – Trebbiano d’Abruzzo Biologico Matte 2013,Chiusa Grande, with almost sauvignon blanc taste-tinges but a little sharp for my palate; then a wonderful Trebbiano d’Abruzzo Fonte-Raviliano 2013 De Angelis Corvi a wine of great distinction, elegant, fruity, with strong traces of almonds and anise; then the pick of the crop, the Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Contesa 13 – cherry red and full of fresh berries, yet again, so elegant; wonderfully achieved.
So what is the next step? A sparkling rosé? Sparkling whites from Abruzzo, for general release? Here’s hoping!
When I came out of the seminar into the wonderful Gibson Hall venue, the room was already filling up and I began my tasting tour of some fifty wineries: the Trebbiano d’Abruzzo Piane di maggio 2013 from Agriverde was a little too lively as was the Pecorino Colline Pescaresi Manus Plere 2013, but the Pecorino Colli Aprutini Barone di Valforte was much more substantial and elegant – my favourite white wine of the exhibition. There were many other truly excellent wines on display – a truly gorgeous white wine, Tullum Bianco Passerina Feudo Antico 2012 full of cheese-cake seductions and hints of rosemary; another delicious white wine was the Abruzzo Pecorino Giocheremo con i fiori 2013 from Torre dei Beati – attractive snazzy label too! Then a pleasant Abruzzo Pecorino Costantini 2013 and (again) a pleasant but more substantial Pecorino Terre di Chieti Vignaquadra 2013 from Collefrisio, but was there a trace of baking soda lingering there?
So to an experimental winery – Di Sipio exhibiting my first Abruzzo Riesling – it was a terrific wine but I wouldn’t have said Riesling on a blind tasting, it lacked that steel, but it was delicious.The table had a rather ordinary Montepulciano but then there was the magnificent Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Di Sipio Rosso 5 Riserva 2007; I thought at this stage this red would not be bettered – but it was to be.
My red wine of the festival was undoubtedly the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Sottozona Terre Vestine Santinumi Ris.2008 from Marchesi De’Cordano – a beautiful, rich red wine, unmatched in the hall, real depth and length – yet with mischievous hints of chocolate bar, crunchie to be precise – if anyone can remember that one!!
This remarkable wine can be purchased at a wine and restaurant base in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire – definitely my next away day!
The Greyhound ENOTECA … “serving the finest selection of Italian wines accompanied by innovative Italian dishes created from the finest quality ingredients.”
But did I find that elusive white wine – no! But it has become an abiding and gentle memory of my first visit to Abruzzo.
SHAUN TRAYNOR www.shauntraynor.co.uk
I have visited Abruzzo several times and liked it so much I considered buying a small piece of heaven in Loreto Apertino. Time passed and it did not happen, but the memories are still fond and the desire to return there stronger than ever, having met some great people involved in winemaking in the region @ Abruzzo Live. The passion is there, the hospitality , the loving pride in what they have produced. A lot of the wines on show were from family run vineyards and wineries.
For me, the standout winners were the wines from the Pecorino grape. About ten years ago I attended one of Luisa Welch’s food and wine events, always such a celebration of all that is good within a specific Italian region. On that occasion, the focus was Le Marche and my introduction to Pecorino, the wine and not the cheese! We took a friend along that evening as our guest and as a thank you she bought us a bottle of said Pecorino wine. We kept it to enjoy at Christmas and it was superb.To find Pecorino wines of such consistently good quality from Abruzzo @ Abruzzo Live was a surprise and a treat and I look forward very much to the prospect of being able to purchase my particular favourites here in the UK soonest.