Bets pink wine of 2020 according to Vini d’Italia guide by Gambero Rosso
The calendar on the wall says 1999 when Fausto Albanesi and Adriana Galassi decide to manage the family vineyards located in Loreto Aprutino. He is an electronic engineer from the Marche, she is an accountant from Abruzzo with little rural experience but a lot of enthusiasm in the unprecedented confrontation with a living and changing material such as wine. The first steps were an immediate conversion to organic regime, and a few bottles made from Montepulciano grapes, produced in the farmhouse located among the vineyards. After 20 years what seemed like an exciting diversion turned into their main activity. Continuous investments, clear projects and a sense of proportion have made Torre dei Beati one of the most brilliant realities in the entire region. Trebbiano, pecorino and montepulciano are the cultivars at the base of their production range. Their Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Rosa-ae is the Pink Wine of the Year according to Vini d'Italia 2020.
Fausto and Adriana, give us some productive information first. How is your Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Rosa-ae born?
Everything comes from our Montepulciano vineyard, planted in 1972 at the foot of the Gran Sasso, just 20 km from the sea. The area of Loreto Aprutino is commonly defined as very suitable, and the intention is to make a wine that respects the typicality of Cerasuolo, in colour, freshness and structure. For this reason, given also the unprecedented climatic variability of the last seasons, we consider it limiting to take sides in the “party” of white or bleeding winemaking, which seems to divide producers also in this region. In the mediation between the two approaches, modulated according to seasonal characteristics, we believe we can rather find the best balance in each year.
Best pink wine of Italy. Were you expecting this?
Our Cerasuolo is a wine that has been highly appreciated by both critics and customers for years. But such a reward is hard to expect. It was a beautiful surprise. And it's very nice that this award has come to Abruzzo.
From your point of view, what is the current condition of the Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo denomination, and what is its potential?
In many markets there is certainly an issue of identity, linked to the handicap of not being able to include the name of the grape variety of origin on the label, i.e. montepulciano. This causes ambiguity that makes the urgency of intense promotional activities very clear. We find it difficult to talk about something that cannot be identified with a name (we are talking about the second red grape variety in Italy). In spite of this, we note a growing interest in the market of quality wines - in Italy and abroad - for Cerasuolo. If expressed in the most traditional forms and not distorted in imitation of international rosés that stand far from our history. A pity to give up such a strong identity.
Who purchases your Rosa-ae? Does it remain in Italy or does it travel abroad?
We sell about 40% of Cerasuolo abroad, and a good amount even in France! In certain markets, the consumption of Cerasuolo follows the fate of the rosé, and is therefore mainly linked to the summer season. We try to defuse this trend by putting wine in dark bottles, to signal that the Cerasuolo can easily be released from this limited seasonal bracket.
You are in a territory of great vocation: mountain massifs in front, the Adriatic sea in back, a benevolent climate. How much did this aspect affect your decision, taken many years ago at the dawn of your company, to adhere to the dictates of organic farming?
We come from other professional experiences, and at the beginning the momentum towards organic was simply instinctive. Over the years, by now twenty, the experience (experience "in the field") has grown a lot, and we have begun to slowly understand the importance of the cultivation area. We are actually lucky. Farming in organic regime is not at all easy, as we hear sometimes from false rumours even from some colleagues. It requires significant investments, continuous dedication and great sensitivity. We find the recent attacks on this type of cultivation disconcerting.
Over the years you have devoted much effort to expressing only local varieties. Today you are among the most important companies and you have a solid range of very high quality standards. Do you consider that you have completed the research path, or are there still unexplored paths you plan to venture out on?
Our great passion transformed over the years into a beautiful occupation. Passion is like a dream: it nourishes, unknowingly, on the past while it opens the way of the days to come, mysteriously. We would like to begin to characterise our wines more accurately, always from local varieties, based on the geographical location of the vineyards, especially now that we have invested in another beautiful area, still in the Pescara province, but facing the Majella, the another great mother mountain of the region. If we look behind us it all seems like a miracle, and we always feel that this miracle will continue.
Torre dei Beati – Loreto Aprutino (PE) – Contrada Poggioragone – +39 085 4916 0690 – www.torredeibeati.it
by Pierpaolo Rastelli