A must-try organic Abruzzo white wine is the white Pecorino by the Cerulli Irelli Spinozzi vineyard in Teramo. For those who believe that Trebbiano is the only white wine that Abruzzo has to offer, you will be pleasantly surprised by discovering Pecorino. Honey in colour, a Cerulli Pecorino is dry, fragrantly infused and with flavours that span gooseberry & pine nuts to lychees & tangerines. It’s a beautifully light wine that deserves not to be left to the cheese course as it great as an aperitif and with light pasta & fish dishes.
The grapes themselves are crunchy and thin skinned, ripening early hence their historic popularity for being eaten possibly rather than used for wine. There is a bit of an argument by wine experts as to whether the grape is named because it accompanies pecorino cheese so well, or because the sheep themselves were quite partial to munching on them.
If in Canzano area, perhaps visiting the nearby C12th triangular Montegualtieri tower (just outside Val Vomano, on the SS150), do make a stop off at the Cerulli Spinozzi cantina and have a tasting. This wholly organic family-run Abruzzi vineyard has the style & heritage that any Italian would be envious of; an astrologer ancestor who discovered that Martian canals were simply an optical illusion and a Formula3 racing car driver and senator – an imaginative set of antecedents! Originally heading up Abruzzo’s leading co-operative vineyard, the now family-owned vineyard’s motto is to combine the best of the old & the new in winemaking techniques to give forth wines that reflects the riches of Abruzzo, its earth, its culture and its history.
Spread over 150 south-facing acres, do take a walk amongst the vines, that are fed alone by the natural springs in the area and droppings from the sheep that mill about. You’ll see a combination of montepulciano & trebbiano grape groups hung pergola and a visual narrative of the production and growing styles. Particularly good is if it harvest time, when I popped by for chat. Still picked by hand, this means the number employed by this vineyard rises to nearly 20 throughout this period, most of whom come back year after year.
Their Montepulciano & Trebbiano d’Abruzzo wines are overseen by Franco Bernabei (Mr Super Italian winemaker) and are quite intense yet pleasantly elegant, without the rawness of some nearby vineyards. Do try their Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Torre Migliori it has a unique hint of rosemary that makes this Montepulciano very sippable.
Address: ss.150, km 17.64020, Canzano TE
Telephone: (+39) 0861 57193