In a small viticultural territory linked historically to vinification of grapes, between the Adriatic Sea and the mountain ranges of Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga, the Montepulciano grape has found the optimal terroir for its expressive identity with the distinctive denomination Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane DOCG. The year 2023 marked its 20th anniversary of being given the first denomination of controlled and guaranteed origin of the Abruzzo region, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane. It continues to be an exemplary wine of great quality and identity of its territory in the glass.
What started by a handful of founding wineries in 2003 to enhance the production of this wine produced in the territory has grown qualitatively and quantitatively over the past twenty years. Today, the small denomination has a production of over 600,000 bottles of 42 wine producers, achieving an increase of 50% in the last two years with a cultivation in 172 hectares of vineyards in 33 municipalities inside the province of Teramo.
Its ambassador grape, Montepulciano, yields robust ruby red wine with nuances of purple in its youth which turn to garnet as it gets older, complex, with intense fruit-forward aromas of red and dark stone fruits and natural spiciness. It’s a wine that goes perfectly with the intense but very balanced flavors of Teramo cuisine, in particular in the preparations based on mutton and lamb. The elegance of this wine also goes well with different meats, as braised and stewed, and with aged cheeses.
Diverse vinification techniques of producers with varied characteristics of their terroir have resulted in an interesting heterogeneity of wines which have invaded not only the Italian market but also internationally over the decades. In Teramo, there is an extraordinary microclimate wherein the mountain ranges and the sea give good ventilation to the area which frees the grapes from humidity and a big diurnal thermal variation between day and night. The hills are also characterized by a particular hydrographic configuration, with four valleys lined by rivers which guarantee a water reserve useful for facing the challenges that climate change is posing today, and increasingly urgently, to farmers. Close to the sea, the wines have a characteristic ripe red fruit with marine references and as you go towards the Apennines, the flavors and aromas become more intense and pulpy, with marked saline minerality.
Enrico Cerulli Irelli, President of the Consorzio di Tutela Vini Colline Teramane says, “In these 20 years we have affirmed the existence of the place Colline Teramane, giving it the importance that some areas have for their regions: I am thinking of Valpolicella for the Veneto, of Franciacorta for Lombardy. Thanks to the work of the winegrowers, the geographical and productive border of the Colline Teramane was outlined in the collective imagination of the inhabitants and visitors: the pasta of the Colline Teramane was born, the honey of the Colline Teramane … that is, we have given importance to an area and value to its products and to the territory. Which today has an important challenge ahead of it: to make winemakers believe more and more in the Colline Teramane DOCG by increasing the production volumes of its flagship wine so that it emerges more and more with strength and respect to Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, finding its position in the great Italian restaurants and on the international market.”
La Nostra Anteprima – The Cool on the Hills
The consortium, Consorzio di Tutela Vini Colline Teramane celebrated an important milestone, the 20th year of the denomination in Teramo last 2 – 4 March 2023, thanks to the funding of the Ministry of Agriculture. The third edition was entitled “La Nostra Anteprima – The Cool on the Hills”, three days dedicated to the public and to professionals of the wine sector with a series of activities. The event officially opened with the preview tasting of the Colline Teramane Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOCG and DOCG Riserva dedicated to the press at the Sala Ipogea followed by a walk-around tasting at the Pinacoteca Civica with the producers. There was also a training seminar organized by AIS Abruzzo which was dedicated to its members, to learn more about the Riserva type of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOCG with Manuela Cornelli and Leone Cantarini.
The Preview Tastings of the Colline Teramane Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOCG and DOCG Riserva
The tastings of the wines, a variation of samples from the barrels and tanks, and some in the bottles, had been an interesting encounter of the denomination’s youthful characteristics with the vintages of 2019 to 2021 Colline Teramane Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and 2016 to 2019 for the Riserva. The wines, showing elegance, are destined to have a long journey of complexity towards its maturity.
The most notable Colline Teramane Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOCG are:
Monti Voluptas 2017: A little voyage for its complexity of aromas from dried red rose petals to ripe plums and wood shavings as it settles in the palate with its elegance, silky tannins and flavors that spread thinly and finish with persistence.
Cerulli Spinozzi Cortalto 2019: Dried flowers and red berries with a thin note of dried prune jam in the end, integrated tannins, elegant and long finish. Beautiful at its youth and will continue to flourish towards its maturity.
San Lorenzo Oinos 2019: Intense and complex nose with more red fruits and dark fruits which can be sensed in the palate with a hint of aftertaste of raisins, integrated tannins. Beautiful at its youth and will continue to flourish towards its maturity.
Barone di Valforte Collesale 2020 (tank sample): Full reby red with purple highlights, a hint of menthol in the nose, red berries and wood shavings while on the mouth, it’s succulent and juicy with integrated tannins. A vibrant young wine that’s on the track of good maturity.
Centorame Castellum Vetus 2018: A lovely wine with ample complex notes, think powder blush, ripe red berries, licorice, with a sweet note in the nose, while on the palate it lends pronounced acidity and sapidity, smooth tannins with a long finish.
Fosso Corno Il Grande Silenzio 2020: A full ruby red color with a fruit-forward nose of cherries, plums, cocoa, while in the mouth the sapidity is enveloping, warm, structured with integrated tannins.
The most notable Colline Teramane Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva DOCG are:
Orlandi Contucci Ponno Riserva 2018 (barrel sample): Crushed stone and flint in the nose with sour cherries and red berries with a note of freshly-shaved wood, elegant with silky tannins.
Monti Pignotto Riserva 2016 (tank sample): A delicious wine with nose of crushed stones, ripe red fruits, and a mouth with flavors that spread evenly and persistently, velvety tannins and a persistent finish. Seven years in the tank and still some time to do before being bottled and already showing its weight in excellence.
Illuminati Zanna Riserva 2018: Aromas of dried flowers, ripe red fruits and a lingering hint of plum jam while in the palate it’s enveloping, spreading wide its flavors, velvety tannins with a hint of spices in the end.
San Lorenzo Escol Riserva 2018: A nose with network of red berries, black berries, powder blush, earthy notes, and underbrush while on the palate it’s round with integrated tannins.
De Angelis Corvi Elevito Riserva 2017: Evolving aromas of ripe plums, raisins, candied berries and licorice with a palate that’s showing its identity of sapidity, velvety tannins, acidity and structure.
Consorzio di Tutela Vini Colline Teramane