Here are the best wines from Abruzzo according to Gambero Rosso.
The headquarters of the Consorzio dei Vini d’Abruzzo, which hosted our tastings, is located in Ortona. Approaching from the north, the last few kilometers of the highway are entirely enveloped by vineyards. Abruzzo is a region deeply steeped in viticulture, and wine production is an integral part of its economy. Indeed, Abruzzo has numerous wineries, and many accepted our invitation—nearly a hundred, in fact, participated in our tastings. Sadly, we had to make some significant cuts, almost by 40%, even with a slight increase in the number of wineries involved. Regarding Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, the recent vintages of 2022 and 2021 were skillfully managed by producers. Few wines were overripe, and most were generally well crafted and enjoyable. The narrative changes with the 2020s. Here, the technical limitations we'd repeatedly emphasized come into play: all too often, oak is too prevalent; perhaps a touch more sensitivity would be welcome.
White wines and Cerasuolo
The 2019s, on the other hand, shine through, proving rather crisp and revealing a nice freshness. Delving into older vintages, it's not uncommon to find wines nearing their end. In terms of the whites, pecorino’s dominance over trebbiano is now established. We tasted over 100 samples of the former and just over 60 of the latter. But trebbiano isn't ready to relinquish its throne. It appears that producers are striving to rejuvenate this quintessential Abruzzo white by releasing versions that have aged for at least a year or even longer. We found complex, nuanced wines that grew increasingly captivating as we ventured back in time. While pecorino may dominate in numbers, the same can't be said about quality. The blistering 2022 vintage surely played its part: it wasn't so much about overripe or "cooked" wines but rather the fear of reaching that stage. We encountered wines that were a bit raw and "green", likely the result of overly premature harvests. We've previously touched upon Cerasuolo, but we reiterate our belief that it is the wine of the future.
The robust character of the montepulciano grape is harnessed in lighter wines which, in their best iterations, lose none of the varietal’s vigor, but rather bring out its attributes. Of course, we're speaking of authentic versions, those with the most identity.