During the covid pandemic, I spoke to Antonio Carulli, co-owner of Don Vitantonio vineyards, based in Crecchio, just a half hour drive from harbor city Pescara in the Abruzzo region. The vineyards are located in some of the nicest parts of the Abruzzo region.
The story begins in 1934, the year Donvitantonio was born, in a family of five children, in which he was the first of five brothers and sisters, at the age of nine he saw how the second world war destroyed everything his family owned. Their house and the vineyards. At that time everything, from there on the family gathered all together and started to rebuild from what was left. At the age of 18 he decided to join the military with one clear aim in his mind, earn more money to buy more land and plant more vines.
Donvitantonio spent his entire life buying land and cultivating vineyards, and in 1984 he was nominated as the top member of the cooperative.
The company is a very strong family owned organization and they have created a vision which keeps the old values and combine it with the new techniques of modern wine making. With the use of local grapes varieties and old artisan winemaker techniques, inherited from Donvitantonio, they try to create the perfect blend and a amazing flavor profile. The vineyards are 18 hectares in total and they cultivate indigenous and international varieties.
I tasted the following wines.
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOCG 2019
This wine is made from 100% Montepulciano grapes and has been aged in concrete egg’s and large French barrels.
Fascinating purple color that invites you to do more. The scents of black and red fruits are challenging. At the first slot there is a lot of fruit such as blackcurrant, blueberry, plum, but also vanilla and cloves from 6 months of age in French oak. The wine has suppleness and character and a nice fruit/acid balance with an aftertaste that lingers for a long time.
Vino Rosè 2020
This Rosè is made of 70% Montepulciano and 30% Merlot, which are handpicked from vineyards with the ‘pergola’ or in Italian called ‘tendone’ system. This system is highly used in the north of Italy due to the rain, so the grapes can dry by the wind. After the grapes are pressed carefully, the juice is added to the skins for 6 hours to enhance the intensity of aromas. The wine has a elegant light pink color and on the noise and palette it is fresh and full of strawberries, raspberries and also some pleasant sticky sweetness as red fruit meringue. Besides the fruitiness, the wine is spicy with aromas of green bell pepper and white pepper. All aromas are balanced and elegant with a bite!
Vino Pecorino 2020
The grapes of this wine are the local white hero’s Pecorino and Fiano. The Pecorino is sometimes describe as ‘the Sauvignon of Abruzzo’ and these are clearly the right words to describe the character of this grape. The Fiano is well known for his complexity and body.
The vineyards, located within the IGP Terre di Chieti, an area of 2.263 ha., with white grape local varieties like Bombino Bianco, Cococciola, Falanghina and Manzoni Bianco, Montonico Bianco. But also some international varieties like Chardonnay, Malvasia, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Gewürztraminer are planted in the vineyards.
The vineyards have a south facing exposure, near to the Adriatic Sea, which bring breezes to the grapes, that maximize the expression of ripeness and richness of aroma’s. At these vineyards they use the ‘Tendone’ system also known as the Pergola system, so the grapes stay high and dry. The grapes are hand picked and carefully selected, after a soft pressed the grape juice is kept in the tank for skin contact of 6 hours at low temperature to enhance the aromas and structure. During the vinification the
The wine has a medium yellow color with green hint. Aromas of green apple and fresh pear are present, the wine has a nice body and structure. Other aromas of peach and flowery notes are balance with the acidity and give a nice aftertaste.
What a revolutionary wines, traditional and innovative.