Scrunched between the Apennine mountains and the Adriatic coast, just 30 minutes away, it has everything a winegrower could ask for -- except fame and fortune. And that's coming.
Known best in Canada for its $8-and-change everyday vino, Abruzzo is just now starting to show its true potential as a source of exceptional wine values.
Consistent co-ops are still thriving alongside emerging tiny boutique family ops that are outperforming famous names in other regions.
The main Abruzzo red grape variety is Montepulciano, a probable sibling of Sangiovese, pride of Tuscany. In Abruzzo, it yields reds ranging from serviceable to stupendous. And we only now beginning to see the stupendous.
Great value starts with Bosco Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Eclipse, $8.35: deep ruby color; berry fruit with a touch of chocolate, smoke and barnyard; medium-bodied with plum and berry flavors and a touch of spice.
More upscale, Il Feoduccio Fonte Venna, $17, is ruby-red. cherry, raspberry, menthol and licorice. Fresh, juicy and approachable, with black cherry and spices, dusty tannins
On the lighter side, there's a whole host of crisp, lemony Abruzzo dry whites by the name Pecorino: Like Citra Ferzo, $18, mildly tropical with apple and dried herbs.
The good news is that a group of the top young Abruzzo producers were in town recently to show their terrific wines and hopefully find wine agents in Canada. May they connect and supply us sooner than later!
Names to watch for are Tilli, Ulisse, Ortona, Martello, Fontefico, and Di Sipio.