With its pebble beaches, dramatic valleys, rolling hills and tall mountains, the eastern central coast of Italy is a land of rugged and untamed beauty. At its heart sits the wine regions of Le Marche and Abruzzi, a region that is known as one of the greenest places in Italy.
With more wildlife sanctuaries and conservation land than anywhere else in Europe, much of this region is unkempt wilderness – the literal green heat of the entire Mediterranean. While the heights of the inland Apennine foothills have a much cooler, temperate climate, it’s the coastal areas where one can find the majority of people and vineyards.
These coastal villages and cities have been the home of a unique cuisine and winemaking tradition that dates back millennia, some even predating the founding of Mother Rome! Like many of Europe’s winemaking regions, Le Marche and Abruzzi have seen their fair share of trial and tribulations over the past century. During the Second World War, many of this area’s vines were destroyed by one man’s greed – Benito Mussolini. With dreams of making Le Marche and Abruzzi the center of his new Italy’s industrial power, Mussolini ordered many of this lands vineyards ripped from the soil to make way for factories and cities. Fortunately, much of this grand scheme never came to fruition, and once again Abruzzi and Le Marche are emerging as major players on the international wine scene.
2012 Villa Gemma, Bianco d’Abruzzo delle Colline Teatine IGT, Abruzzi $18
Made mostly from Trebbiano grapes, but blended with the rounder flavors of Chardonnay and the brighter acidity of Cococciola, this graceful and vibrant wine presents peaches, mint, herbs, and flowers on the nose. With its intoxicating minerality and a bolder, lingering finish, this wine has the strength and wherewithal to stand up to the heavier dishes of the coming months – turkey and smoked bacon, corn and pumpkin bisque, squash and zucchini.
2011 Saladini Pilastri, Rosso Piceno DOC, Le Marche $16
A traditional and ancient style of red wine from the heart of Le Marche, this Rosso Piceno, like all others, is made from a blend of Sangiovese and Montepulciano grapes. Allowed to mellow for short time in oak barrels, Saladini Pilastri’s Rosso Piceno is a deep and harmonious wine with a rich nose of berry scents, almond extract, fresh mint, and wet earth. Fresh and fruity flavors on the palate are complemented with soft tannins, making this wine perfect for all kinds of roasted game.
2008 Marina Cvetic, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC, Abruzzi $24
A rich and sophisticated take on an old classic, world-famous winemaker Marina Cvetic ages her Montepulciano d’Abruzzo in French oak in order to impart a complexity and persistent quality to her wine. Intense, complex, and heady aromas present themselves upfront on the nose, while flavors of ripe red berries, blackberries, dried flowers, violets, vanilla and bitter chocolate present themselves upfront in every glass.
2009 Velenosi, ‘Brecciarolo’ Rosso Piceno Superiore DOC, Le Marche $25
Quite a few people believe that Rosso Piceno Superiore is one of the most interesting wines of Central Italy, and Velenosi’s ‘Brecciarolo’ is certainly a testament to that belief. An important, full-bodied wine that is complex, ample, and harmonious, ‘Brecciarolo’ has an intense bouquet of dark fruit and vanilla nuances leading into a lingering and charismatic palate.
2008 Marina Cvetic, Colli Aprutini Merlot IGT, Abruzzi $38 Another blockbuster from famous winemaker Marina Cvetic, this wine is made entirely of Merlot grapes displaying a boldness, power and luxury that captivates and enthralls the drinker. Aged in oak barriques for 12 months, then glass bottle for another year, this full-bodied and silky red is a true expression of the stony hills of Colli Aprutini. With an intense nose of spiced red berries and dried tea leaves, accompanied by a supple palate of blackberries, dried flowers, and bitter dark chocolate, this Merlot is more than a perfect match for barbecued meats, duck, and lamb, as well as aged cheeses and spicy charcuterie.
So, stop by our tasting table this Friday night (5pm-7pm) or Saturday afternoon (2pm-5pm) and discover for yourself why this region is on the up and up!