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rich, elegant and complex nose. The first impact gives both power and refinement, then the fruit appears followed by
flavours of tar, cocoa beans, balsam and the classic liquorice. Though less serious than its brethren the standard
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo punches well above its weight. With its delicious bright cherry fruit flavours this bouncy red
provides happy accompaniment to most pasta dishes. The Cerasuolo is a delicious pearly-pink wine, refreshingly
uncomplicated, just damn refreshing in fact, liquid testimony to the importance of not being earnest. To be drunk, nay
guzzled, al fresco, with garlicky fish soup or with a plate of mixed salamis.
The two whites couldn’t be more different. The basic Trebbiano d’Abruzzo is typically floral with gentle apple and almond
fruit. The Trebbiano d’Abruzzo Marina Cvetic, on the other hand, manages to combine great extract, a nose of finesse, fruit
warmth and mineral freshness, power and depth of flavour.
TREBBIANO D’ABRUZZO CLASSICA
TREBBIANO D’ABRUZZO “MARINA CVETIC”
MONTEPULCIANO D’ABRUZZO CLASSICA
MONTEPULCIANO D’ABRUZZO “MARINA CVETIC”
ISKRA ROSSO COLLI APRUTINI
ISKRA ROSSO COLLI APRUTINI – magmum
MONTEPULCIANO D’ABRUZZO “VILLA GEMMA”
MADREGALE, CANTINA DI TOLLO, TOLLO, Abruzzo
Natural splendour abounds in Abruzzo, a region that stretches out from the mountains down to the sea, with as much as a third
of its territory dedicated to nature reserves. This patrimony is protected tenaciously by the Abruzzi with their abiding vocation
for vine-growing which has persisted down the ages. The majority of the hilly terrain used to grow grapes is made up of an
average sandy-clay mix with a density which varies according to the gradient of incline and the direction faced. The gentle
breeze from the Adriatic helps create a favourably mild climate over the hills, bringing the right amount of rain and high levels
All that remains is for the variations in temperature and winds coming from opposite directions, as inevitably occurs when the
mountains face the sea, to work their magic, allowing the wines made to develop their characteristic intense bouquet. Of these
merry madrigals the red, a stout little Montepulciano, has a six to eight-day maceration on the skins, is fermented in stainless
steel, is light and juicy, with a whiff of fresh herbs and a palate of 278lumies cherry and white pepper. Bang it in a bucket on a
summer’s eve and serve it with hot or cold running lamb or the simplest pasta dishes that you can scarcely be bothered to
rustle up such as Bucatini all’ Amatriciana. The Chardonnay, an attractive straw yellow colour, has a pleasant tropical fruit
nose and a citrus-edged palate. This would go nicely with spaghetti with clams, Chitarinna with shrimps and courgettes, or red
mullet any which way.
MADREGALE BIANCO IGT TERRE DI CHIETI
MADREGALE PINOT GRIGIO TERRE DI CHIETI
MADREGALE ROSSO IGT TERRE DI CHIETI
MADREGALE ROSATO IGT TERRE DI CHIETI
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Occhi 279mprov e belli,
Com’ esser può che ‘n un medesmo istante
Nascan da voi sì nove forme e tante?
Lieti, mesti, superbi, umili, alteri
Vi mostrate in un punto; onde di speme
E di timor m’ empiete:
E tanti affetti e dolci e acerbi e feri
Nel cor arso per voi vengono insieme
Ad ogn’ or che volete.
Or poi che voi mia vita e morte siete,
Occhi felici, occhi beati e cari ,
Siate sempre 279mprov, allegri e chiari.
CANTINA SOCIALE FRENTANA, Abruzzo
Another winery where the roots of tradition are nourished by a progressive vinicultural outlook. Cantina Sociale
Frentana is located in Rocca San Giovanni, south west of Pescara. The supreme quality of the terroir allied to the
natural ebullience of the grape variety creates something very special. The wine is fermented in the state-of-the-art
winery in stainless steel tanks accentuating the natural ripe fruit flavours. Bold Montepulciano with fruit as thundering
as a church organ being walloped by a demented orang-utan yet nowhere near as vulgar. The combination is
irresistible: plum-skin fruit allied to leathery warmth with an all-over chocolate finish. A wine that your bank balance
will love repeatedly. The Trebbiano is as fresh and fruity as the Monty is burly and rough-edged. Lovely apple-blossom
fruit on the nose and attractively fresh palate of yellow plums, pears and apples.
TREBBIANO D’ABRUZZO “FRENTANO”
BIANCO IGT TERRE DI CHIETI – 5 litre BIB
MONTEPULCIANO D’ABRUZZO “FRENTANO”
FRENTANA ROSSO – 5 litre BIB
So You Think You Know About Trebbiano?
Edoardo Valentini’s Trebbiano d’Abruzzo seems to hail from another planet; no-one has a clue why the wine is the way it is – we’ve
found that its optimum drinking period is 10-15 years from vintage after a couple of hours in the carafe. This is the theory as told to us by
Valentini’s son: in the 1950s with the industrialisation of the Italian wine industry the Trebbiano Toscana was imported into Abruzzo
to supplement the local version. Being a more robust, high-yielding variety with bigger grapes it eventually entirely replaced the
indigenous Trebbiano of Abruzzo (and thus became known itself as Trebbiano d’Abruzzo). The Valentini family, using records dating
back to the 1860s, discovered the properties of the original Trebbiano and using clonal selection (over a period of 40 years!) in one
vineyard of 2.5 hectares have essentially recreated the old Trebbiano with all its unique qualities. As far as we know this is the only
example of traditional Trebbiano d’Abruzzo and is made in a traditional way to express the style and the terroir (big old foudres).
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IOLE RABASCO, PESCARA, Abruzzo - Organic
Iole Rabasco inherited her family’s small vineyard and olive grove, neither of which have ever been treated with chemicals.
And she’s taken that blessing and run with it. Her property is nestled in north-central Abruzzo where you have unique meso-
and micro-climates. Her 3.5 hectares are located in the village of Pianella, in the province of Pescara, about 40 kilometres
from the Adriatic Sea. The base of the Gran Sasso mountain range runs along its western edge.
Almost all of her vines are Montepulciano, but she also has a couple of rows of Trebbiano. These vines, on average, are 40-
years-old, and are 450 metres above sea level. Soils are calcareous clay mixed with alluvial sediment and fossil remains. The
vines are trained in the traditional tendone-style pergola, and all the work is done by hand. She intentionally keeps her yields
low. She prefers, as do we, her wines to have acidity and freshness rather than power and extraction.
No chemicals ever touch Iole’s vines or the wines in her cellar. The Rosato Cancelli is direct press Montepulciano from the
Cancelli vineyard site, a bowl that starts at the base of the La Salita slalom run and jumps a small road to climb the gentler
adjacent slope. This wine is part of a serious Abruzzo tradition — no skin maceration as is the custom, a fact belied by its
electric raspberry hue. In 2016, Iole opted to ferment the rosato in cement and then age in stainless steel (rather than her
classic fibreglass damigiana used in years past), producing a super fresh and vibrant wine laced with tension and electricity.
AA MARINA PALUSCI, PESCARA, Abruzzo - Organic
The hilly area of Pianella d'Abruzzo is renowned for its olive oil production. The Marina Palusci company, led by
Massimiliano d'Addario (son of Marina), makes superb extra virgin, but since 2010 has also ventured into wine, vinifying the
local Pecorino, Passerina and Montepulciano grapes with minimal sulphur. Pianella’s vineyards are situated on limestone
soils, surrounded by olive groves. Nocturnal harvest to preserve natural acidity in the grapes, spontaneous ferments with
indigenous yeasts, and adding as little as possible to protect the authenticity of the wine give the Palusci wines a point of
difference in Abruzzo.
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In the hills of Molise, lamb, kid and mutton are popular, along with pork for sausages, salame and soppressata, sometimes preserved in
terra-cotta vases under fine local olive oil. Prosciutto may be salt cured, though it is also smoked–rare in Italy. Prominent cheeses are
caciocavallo from the town of Agnone, pecorino and scamorza. Part of the Caciocavallo Silano DOP is in Molise.
The port of Termoli provides triglie di scoglio (red mullet, base of a tasty soup), fresh anchovies, squid, crabs, clams and sea snails.
Molise produces quantities of dried pasta, though in country homes women still often roll the dough by hand. Specialties include sagne
(lasagne), laganelle (tagliatelle), crejoli (similar to the Abruzzi’s maccheroni alla chitarra) and recchietelle (orechiette). Pasta is often
served with ragout of lamb and pork, invariably with diavolillo (chilli pepper), and a grating of sharply flavoured pecorino cheese.
The tomato, fresh or preserved, is omnipresent in Molise, as are beans and artichokes. Campobasso is noted for giant white celery. The
region also produces fine extra virgin olive oil.
Polenta is as popular as pasta in places. Cornmeal is cooked in a mush, though the flour may also be used for a type of pizza. Molise has a
tasty array of cakes, biscuits and pastries, and one of the most bizarre of desserts: blood sausage with chocolate and pine nuts.
DI MAJO NORANTE, CAMPOMARINO, Molise – Organic
The Di Majo Norante winery is located to the north of the Gargano in Molise on the estate of the Marquis Norante of
Santa Cristina. This estate has been dedicated to the cultivation of vines since the 1800s. In the 1960s a modern cantina
was constructed and vines were replanted in the Ramitello zone. Optimal exposure, constant breezes during the summer,
excellent soil composition and a slope toward the Sciabolone and Madonna Grande valleys, blend together to create a
particularly favourable environment for the production of wine.
Alessio Di Majo strives to produce the best quality possible at a price that is extremely affordable to the consumer. To
ensure consistently high quality, he has hired renowned oenologist, Riccardo Cotarella, as a consultant.
In another example of his dedication to quality wine and environmentally sound agriculture, Alessio di Majo makes his
wines from organically grown grapes. The winery received certification from AIAB (Associazione Italiana per
l’Agricoltura Biologica) in 1997.
Sangiovese IGT is made from 100% Sangiovese grown in the Sciabolone and Martarosa vineyards and harvested in late
October. The vineyards are situated 165-328 ft. Above sea level, with south-western exposure and a clayey, calcareous soil
composition. The wine is aged in large oak barrels for 6 months. This Sangiovese exhibits a fresh bouquet of violets and
woodland berries. It is smooth and refreshing on the palate with loads of ripe fruit and represents excellent value.
The Contado is from 100% Aglianico grown on Italy’s south-eastern coast. The grapes were harvested in late
October/early November and macerated in contact with the skins for 20-30 days. After fermentation, the wine was aged in
a combination of large casks and barrique for 2-3 years. Contado is ruby red in colour with light garnet reflections. The
full and intense bouquet reveals ample amounts of mature fruit. The wine is soft and velvety on the palate and full-bodied,
with balanced tannins and hints of almond in the lingering finish.
“Aglianico Contado exhibits terrific minerality along with blueberry, blackberry, graphite, and incense notes. Raspberry
flavours are noticeable in the mouth. Good acidity, ripe tannin, and a layered mouthfeel suggest this impressive Aglianico
should be consumed over the next 2-3 years.”
The Wine Advocate
The Falanghina is typically perfumed with just-cut lime aromas. It is medium-bodied with good flinty fruit and a
delicious almond and honey aftertaste.
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AZIENDA AGRICOLA GUIDO MARSELLA, SUMMONTE, AVELLINO, Campania
Irpinia has played such an important role in Campanian wine production that the rail line linking Avellino and Rocchetta
Sant’Antonio was known as “the Wine Line.” Completely planted in vines, the province of Avellino features products of
international reputation, such as Greco di Tufo, Taurasi and Fiano. The Fiano di Avellino takes its name from the variety
that the Romans called Vitis Apiana. That was because the vine’s grapes were so sweet that they proved irresistible to bees
The wine, which was already highly appreciated in the Middle Ages, originated several millennia ago. An order for three
salme (a measure) of Fiano is entered in the register of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II. And Charles d’Anjou must
have enjoyed the wine, since he had 16,000 Fiano vines planted in the royal vineyards.
This very small estate is located near town of Mercogliano and represents a jewel in the enological panorama of the
Avellino district and sprang to prominence when
journalists, selected the Fiano in their “100 Best Italian Wines”. Marsella produces only one wine, and its vinification is
strictly made using only estate-grown grapes and traditional techniques. A deliciously pure style of Fiano with restrained,
subtle yet concentrated notes of peach kernel and toasted hazelnuts.
FIANO DI AVELLINO
TENUTA GRILLO, GUIDO ZAMPAGLIONE, ALTA IRPINIA, Campania – Organic
This Donchi brayed for your attention – now it is the turn of his faithful retainer.
This is the result of organic viticulture and meticulous winemaking.
The vines are planted at an altitude 800 metres above sea level on poor soils. Natural fertilizers and other treatments with
sulphur and copper. The vines are densely planted. After a manual harvest in October the wine receives long maceration on
the skins, is fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged on the lees in tank. Only a tiny amount of sulphur is used and the wine
is bottled unfiltered.
A white wine for lovers of skin contact. This is golden-amber in colour from being raised in an open vat, cloudy in the glass,
and has seen very little sulphur. The nose comes alive with fresh green notes, aromatic yellow fruits, and dried herbs. The
palate is round and full of citrusy, lemon intensity finishing with a hint of tannin.
FIANO “SANCHO PANZA”
MASSERIA STARNALI, MARIA TERESIA DI BIASIO, CASERTA, Campania – Organic
Starnali is an organic farm situated between Mount Caruso and the Gulf of Gaeta on the border of the national park of
Roccamonfina. It extends for forty hectares dedicated to the cultivation of wine, oil, and chestnuts. The family-run company
decided from the beginning to cultivate all their land in accordance with sound principles of organic farming, rejecting any
chemical or synthetic products in order to achieve healthy, genuine and respect for the environment. The white is 100%
Falanghina, whilst the red is 80% Aglianico and 20% Piedirosso. Both wines come from vineyards at 350-400 metres and are
fermented in stainless tanks with indigenous yeasts.
FALANGHINA MARESA ROCCAMONFINA BIANCO
AGLIANICO/PIEDIROSSO SANTO STANO ROCCAMONFONA ROSSO
CANTINE BARONE, LUIGI SARNO, Campania – Organic
The vineyards are located on sandy soils of volcanic origin in Rutino and surroundings at 400 metres above sea level. The
estate is 8 ha with grapes purchased from a further 4 hectares which are farmed organically or are in conversion tobiological
Particella 928 is the Cantina del Barone “Cru”. The name is taken from the land parcel n. 928. Just 2800 vines (half hectare)
for this great Fiano. The hand harvested Fiano grapes are whole-bunch fermented in stainless steel tanks with its own yeasts
(ambient ferment) with a natural malolactic and aged in the same for a further eight to ten months. Lightly filtered, unfined
and only SO2 at bottling (30 mg total)
The wine is rich golden in colour, a touch honeyed, floral, rich in acidity, with a touch of glycerine on the palate that makes it
feel a bit “warmer” and less savoury than the Marsella. The wine bangs with minerals, and has really good length.
FIANO D’AVELLNO PARTICELLLA 928
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