We continue with the previews of the winners of the tasting batteries for Gambero Rosso guide Vini d'Italia 2021, today we focus on Abruzzo and Molise.

The best wines of Abruzzo

The winemaking landscape of Abruzzo includes sea, mountains, hills and glaciers. Facing the Adriatic Sea, behind the peaks of the Majella mountain range. It’s the evocative image we see every time we taste a wine from Abruzzo. The regional geography is special, with vineyards extending in a channel wedged between natural beauties: there are vineyards that hear the sound of the sea, others enjoy the silence of the mountains. In a few square kilometers we find the sea, glaciers, hills, and natural parks.

The 29,530 hectares of regional vineyards fall into this context, the great protagonist is Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, a red that’s capable of interpreting and translating all the complexity of such a varied and heterogeneous territory.

Wines of Abruzzo awarded with Tre Bicchieri 2021

There are 14 Tre Bicchieri winners in this edition of the Guide, 5 Montepulciano wines, ranging from fresh and fragrant mountain wines, shaped by cold winds and rock, to richer and more powerful ones powered by light and clay, up to more brackish sensations when we approach the coast. Valentini scores with an interpretation of great characte for his 2015. Alongside him we find Castorani, Illuminati, Tollo and Valle Reale. Three Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo were also awarded: Cataldi Madonna, Terraviva and Pepe, a trio of designer rosés.

Pecorino is clearly growing in terms of quality, a white that has benefitted from the sales success of recent years, turning towards more complex and mineral aromas, as the little Riesling of the Adriatic. It offers ever sharper and more defined wines, capable of evolving over time with surprising grace. Four Tre Bicchieri: Codice Vino, Villa Medoro, Masciarelli e Feudo Antico. Finally, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, two top awards for the denomination, with two versions that enjoy a surplus of bottle aging. We are talking about Agriverde’s Trebbiano Solàrea and the excellent Bianchi Grilli for the Testa di Torre dei Beati.

Agriverde – Trebbiano d’Abruzzo Solàrea ’18

Castorani – Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Amorino ’16

Cataldi Madonna – Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Piè delle Vigne ’18

Codice Vino – Abruzzo Pecorino Sup. Tegèo ’18

Feudo Antico – Tullum Pecorino Biologico ’19

Dino Illuminati – Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane Zanna Ris. ’15

Masciarelli – Abruzzo Pecorino Castello di Semivicoli ’19

Emidio Pepe – Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo ’19

Tenuta Terraviva – Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Giusi ’19

Cantina Tollo – Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Mo Ris. ’16

Torre dei Beati – Trebbiano d’Abruzzo Bianchi Grilli per la Testa ’18

Valentini – Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ’15

Valle Reale – Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Vign. Sant’Eusanio ’18

Villa Medoro  – 8 ½  Pecorino ’19

The best wines of Molise

Frontier land, hinge between zones and regions: these are often the definitions that are given for Molise. In our opinion, a little superficially. It is certainly true that there are some incontrovertible similarities with the surrounding areas – orographic or climatic for example, but also cultural or related to gastronomic traditions. It is equally true that the Molise communities manage to maintain their own strong identity. And what happens in regards to winemaking is the mirror of all this. If on the one hand, in fact, Montepulciano, Aglianico, Malvasia, Falanghina, Greco are grape varieties “borrowed” from Campania, Abruzzo and Puglia, nevertheless the wines that are made from these grapes in this region enclosed in the mountains of Meta and Matese and the Adriatic coast have little to do with their neighbouring counterparts. And each time they show off their Mediterranean or mountain characteristics, austere or light lent by the different production areas.

All under the banner of tintilia, the true regional native grape variety of which every year we find more focused and interesting versions, increasingly directed towards territorial interpretations based on the conservation of the characteristics of the cultivar. Our applause, in this sense, therefore goes to Claudio Cipressi, to Antonio Grieco (Tenimenti Grieco) and Michele Travaglini (Tenute Martarosa) for having presented very good wines at our tastings that only by a hair did not obtain the Tre Bicchieri recognition.

Wines of Molise awarded with Tre Bicchieri 2021

Once again this award goes exclusively to the most historic company in the region, Di Majo Norante, who proposed another great example of Don Luigi, a red with great tannic structure and Mediterranean warmth. All good then? Not exactly. Already last year, we complained that too few companies decided to participate in our selections. Unfortunately, this year too we have to make the same complaint. We would like to  increase the space dedicated to the best wineries in the region, but in order to do this, we need to have a greater number of producers entering the competition. Our commitment in the coming years will go towards this goal. We also hope that Molise producers feel the same way.

Di Majo Norante – Molise Rosso Don Luigi Ris. ’16