Looking for a wine from Abruzzo to write about, I reached out to my friend Mavi Peňa to get some tips about some wineries in Abruzzo I could contact. That is, wineries that were new to me, I wanted to discover something different. Mavi used to live in Calabria but is now in Abruzzo and knows the area much better than I do.
She suggested San Lorenzo winery and connected me with them. So, that was awesome. This week, I got the wines delivered to my door. I got the wines as free samples to be able to write about them for the #ItalianFWT Abruzzo theme this month.
Generally, I write about wineries I have visited or where I know the owner and producer well. This is exciting too though, and I love exploring new wines. I am sure that I will visit them when I go to Abruzzo next time. In fact, I have already asked Mavi to give me a guided tour next time I pass by Abruzzo. 😊
I received three wines from them, namely
- Pecorino Abruzzo DOC
- Antàres Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane DOCG 2016
- Escol Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane Riserva DOCG 2013
October WITH #ITALIANFWT
The theme this month, October 2019, is the Abruzzo Wine event in the Italian Food, Wine, and Travel (#ItalianFWT) group. As briefly mentioned above, I will be focusing on San Lorenzo winery in the Colline Teramane area, just below the Gran Sasso. I will talk about two of their red wines in this article.
On Saturday, October 5, you can join us on Twitter at 11amEDT / 17.00 CEST to learn more about food, wine, and travel in relation to wines from Northeast Italy. Just type in the hashtag #ItalianFWT in the search field and click Enter, thereafter, you click Latest which will show you all the live tweets.
How To Participate in the Twitter Chat
On Saturday, 5 October, at 11 am ET / 17.00 CEST the Italian Food, Wine, and Travel group will explore Abruzzo Wine event in the #ItalianFWT chat on Twitter. All those of you who are interested in wine, food, and travel in Italy and Abruzzo are very welcome to participate in the chat on Saturday. It is always great to have new fellow Italian wine and food enthusiasts to join and add new perspectives to the discussion.
Join us on Twitter on Saturday, 5 October, by typing in the hashtag #ItalianFWT in the search field on Twitter and click Enter, thereafter, you click Latest which will show you all the live tweets. In that way, you can take part in the live discussion. After the chat, you can also head over to read and comment on the article writers’ blog posts. It’s always nice to get feedback on the articles.
San Lorenzo – A Winery by the foot of the Gran Sasso Mountains
San Lorenzo is a winery in Castilenti, on the Teramo hills (Colline Teramane), with a long history that dates to 1890. In that period, the present owners’ great-great-grandfather Francesco D’Amico only had 2 hectares (5 acres) of land. The farm was exponentially expanded by his son Giuseppe who when he had made his fortune in the US came back and bought 80 hectares of land.
Fast-forwarding to today, it is the 5th generation of the family, the brothers Fabrizio and Gianluca Galasso who runs the winery. Thanks to their parents the winery grew even more in the 1970s and 1980s when they arrived at having the 150 hectares of land, they still have today.
Gran Sasso close by…
Abruzzo is a region that I love even though I have not explored it that extensively yet, mostly the areas along the coast. However, it is a region where the viticulture, just like in Le Marche, can enjoy winds from the mountains and the sea.
In fact, Gran Sasso is the mountain in the inland of northern Abruzzo and it is the highest mountain of the Apennines outside of the Alps. The highest peak is Corno Grande (Big Horn) that is about 2900 meters high.
The San Lorenzo winery is located 20 km from Gran Sasso and 20 km from the seaside. This gives it an ideal position, not only for the winds blowing in from the mountains as well as the sea but also due to the diurnal temperature range. The soil is also quite unique with its composition of clay and limestone, making it into an ideal area for vine growing and wine production.
Even though the winery is large it is still a family-run estate where history and tradition are important concepts, but they are also focused on innovation. Sustainability is key for San Lorenzo winery and they are constantly reducing their impact on the environment to a minimum being SQNPI certified, which is a ministerial certification in Italy meaning that they are in an integrated production system.
Furthermore, they are also partially organic as they make one organic Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine, their so-called Bio project wine. In general, they use natural yeast in the fermentation processes for their wines.
Montepulciano, the Nr. 1 red grape in Abruzzo
The Montepulciano grape is often mixed up with the wine Nobile di Montepulciano.
So let’s clarify the confusion here:
- Montepulciano is a red grape variety native mainly to Abruzzo but grown also in other regions such as Lazio, Le Marche, Molise, Puglia, and Tuscany.
- Nobile di Montepulciano is a DOCG wine produced in Montepulciano in Tuscany and the main grape variety here is Sangiovese.
Let us now get back to talk Montepulciano in Abruzzo. The origin of the Montepulciano grape seems to be pretty vague, but it is believed to have been the Medici family in Tuscany to have brought the grape to Abruzzo in the 16th century when they established a Marchesato there. More recently, researchers, however, tend to believe that the Montepulciano variety has its origin in the Val Peligna area in Abruzzo. (See Ian D’Agata, Native Wine Grapes of Italy, pp. 345-349.)
The Montepulciano grape has, furthermore, often been mixed up with Sangiovese. Not only in the sense of confusing the grape with the DOCG wine in Tuscany but to actually think that the Montepulciano variety and the Sangiovese variety were one and the same.
Another curiosity is that Montepulciano grapes apparently look very much like the Pugnitello grapes and people have often mistaken one for the other.
Did you know that Abruzzo was the first to get an ‘all-region’ DOC in the form of DOC Montepulciano d’Abruzzo?
In fact, more than 50% of the vineyard surface in Abruzzo is planted with Montepulciano grapes. The Montepulciano thrives in clay soil which, just as we mentioned above regarding the soil at the San Lorenzo estate, is the main composition of the soil in the Colline Teramane area. This makes the Colline Teramane DOCG very particular.
Montepulciano is indeed a grape with many faces as it can be used for sparkling, rosé, dry and sweet wines. It can be made into lighter as well as more rich and bold red wines. For example, rosé wines made with the Montepulciano grape are a delight in both color and taste.
Who hasn’t enjoyed sipping on the Villa Gemma Rosato wine from Masciarelli?… where Marina Cvetic has chosen a dark, black bottle for her rosé wine.
In the two red wines I will be talking about from San Lorenzo winery, the boldness and richness of this fantastic red grape variety also shine through.
A group tasting of San Loreno winery’s wines
When the wines arrived earlier this week, I was actually just on my way to lunch with a couple of friends at Divina Enoteca in the center of Florence. I was meeting up with friends who are also sommelier FISAR and we always have a lot of fun together. If you are in Florence you should check out Divina Enoteca.
So, I thought like what better way to taste and analyze the wines than together with my knowledgeable sommelier friends, right? Furthermore, it is also a fun way of tasting and so many different facets of wine come out when you are tasting together with a group of friends.
Therefore, I brought the
- Antáres Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane DOCG 2016
- Escol Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane DOCG 2013
…with me and hopped on a bus towards the center to go learn more about these wines from San Lorenzo winery in Abruzzo.
My friends are Laura Maggi, Andrea Micheli, and Livio Del Chiaro (together with Bianca Ciatti, he is the owner of Divina Enoteca).
Antàres Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane DOCG 2016
We started with the Antàres 2016 which is a fresh wine with nice acidity and tannins where at first you feel the fruity notes of dry plums and spices (a touch of licorice). After a while, it opens up and the fruit becomes sweet in a rounder way, and you also feel a bit herby undertone.
On the website, it says the wine has been matured in big oak casks and, in fact, you feel it in the smoothness of this Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine. It is a very nice and enjoyable wine with fresh and clean notes.
Escol Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane Riserva DOCG 2013
Escol is their top Riserva wine and indeed you feel it right from the start. It is an elegant, full-bodied, structured, and powerful Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine. It has been aged for 24 months in new barriques which makes the wood still very perceivable in the wine, overshadowing a bit the essence of the grape variety. I think it just needs still a bit of time, to reach its beautiful potential.
It is an elegant wine where you feel a mix of floral, fruity, and spicy notes almost from the start. The fruity notes are riper, a bit towards yummy jam of blueberry and blackberry. The nice herby touch is stronger here followed by notes of leather, tobacco, licorice. It is an impressive wine to pair with more important occasions.Below are the participants and their titles for the October #ItalianFWT Abruzzo event. The articles will be published by Saturday, October 5, 2019. Steven from Wine and Food Pairings will discuss “Cioppino – Red or White Wine? #Italian FWT” Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm will share about “The Food and Wines of Abruzzo” Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla will bring us “Scrippelle ‘mbusse + Ferzo Passerina” Deanna from Asian Test Kitchen will reveal “5 Iconic Abruzzo Wines to Try from Torre Zambra” Jen from Vino Travels will share about “The Variety of Abruzzo Wines” Gwendolyn from Wine Predator from tastes and shares “3 Montepulciano and 1 Trebbiano from d’Abruzzo #ItalianFWT” Cindy from Grape Experiences from suggests the you “Immerse Yourself in Wines from Abruzzo for a Genuine Taste of Italy” Pinny from Chinese Food and Wine Pairing is “Celebrating Abruzzo Wines with the Ferzo Passerina, Citra Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Caldora Chardonnay”. Linda from My Full Wine Glass suggests “Abruzzo wines to pair with fresh fall produce (#ItalianFWT)” Jeff foodwineclick brings us “Pairing Magic with Ferzo Pecorino and Squash Risotto” Nicole from Somm’s Table“Cooking to the Wine: Lammidia Anfora Rosso from Abruzzo & Post Roast with Tomatoes and Chickpeas” David from Cooking Chat Cooking Chat, will share “Baked Haddock with Pasta and White Wine from Abruzzo”. Susannah from Avvinare will take “A Fresh Look at the Wines of Abruzzo” Rupal from Syrah Queen will share “Exploring The Wine & Gastronomy of Abruzzo” Katarina from Grapevine Adventures San Lorenzo Winery – Montepulciano d’Abruzzo between Sea and Mountain
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