Emidio Pepe changed the game for the region of Abruzzo. In a region that was not well-known for its fine wines in the 60s and 70s, it is thanks to Emidio's tireless work ethic that the world is able to explore the true potential of the indigenous varieties, Montepulciano, Trebbiano d'Abruzzo and Pecorino.
“To understand the real Trebbiano, you have to wait six to seven years. There is always tension and energy, but the wines are introverts when they are young – they are shy. Their flavour compounds appear with time; the minerality becomes more present, and the acid brightens, and entirely different aromas appear.”
— Chiara Pepe
People: Emidio Pepe & the Pepe family
Place: Abruzzo, Italy
Varieties: Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Trebbiano d'Abruzzo & Pecorino
Wines: Click here
Did You Know? All of the Pepe wines are aged in glass-lined concrete tanks: no oak is used in the cellar here.
Young Vines vs Old Vines
The wine produced from the young Montepulciano vines is sold locally, and there is also Cerasuolo produced for the local market; Montepulciano produced in the same way as the white wines; producing a light red, delicious and juicy wine. Meanwhile, the old vines, labelled with a Vecchie Vigne stamp, produce wine that always finds a natural balance, as the long root system prevents water stress even in hot years. Emidio always had faith in the older vines' potential to produce ageworthy wine. We are fortunate to drink a selection of old vintages with the Pepe family. Every wine has a different aromatic profile; some whisper, while some shout; but every wine is alive. The iconic vintage of 1985 positively sings. Chiara nods, saying,
"This wine looks like grandfather. It never seems to age. It is the personification of him: fierce, with a strong attitude."
The grapes are hand destemmed into buckets, and from there poured into cement tanks where gravity breaks the skins. Maceration lasts between seven and nine days, and the cap is broken very gently once a day, but only if necessary: this is the "infusion style" of red winemaking. There is just one press, and the wine is aged between 18 months to 24 months in the glass lined concrete tanks. Racking is avoided completely if possible before bottling.