Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2010
A Wine That
changed the game of Italian fine wine forever — due to one brave man determined to give organic farming and the grape variety he loves a shot at the metaphorical big screen. And guess what? If we're talking movie terms, his Montepulciano has won multiple Oscars.
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- Winemaker: Emidio Pepe
Where and How?
In 1988, Emidio Pepe planted Trebbiano d'Abruzzo (not to be confused with the Trebbiano Toscano aka "Ugni Blanc," which is a separate variety, confusing, we know), with cuttings from his cousin. This old Trebbiano material is very different to other Trebbiano found in the area, with thicker skins and higher acidity.
The grapes are crushed by foot, for around 45 minutes per 300kg of grapes, in an old traditional long wooden open vessel to release the juice from the berries. The juice is moved straight into glass-lined concrete tanks, where fermentation occurs naturally, slowly and in a reductive environment on the lees (to give them as little access to oxygen as possible) for 18 months.
The Winemaker: Emidio Pepe
Emidio Pepe is a grower and winemaker whose work has proved that the wines of Abruzzo are capable of being some of the finest wines not just in Italy, but in the world. Listening to him speak in the lilting Italian Abruzzese dialect is a little like listening to the foreign language Oscars acceptance speeches; we might have no idea what he’s saying until his granddaughter Chiara translates for us; but even without knowing, we feel the emotion of his words reverberate through us as he speaks.
He is a true Italian gentleman, dressed in his tweed suit and cap for dinner. His eyes crinkle with pride when he sees us enjoying his wines. For him, and for his family, it is the simplicity of the translation from nature to bottle - with the addition of time - that creates greatness. 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. This drive has been passed down through two generations, which we see mirrored in his granddaughter's eyes.