Abruzzo (pronounced [aˈbruttso]) is a region in Italy, its western border lying less than 50 miles due east of Rome. Abruzzo borders the region of Marche to the north, Lazio to the west and south-west, Molise to the south-east, and the Adriatic Sea to the east. Although geographically more of a central than southern region, ISTAT (the Italian statistical authority) considers it part of Southern Italy, a vestige of Abruzzo's historic association with the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
Climate and Geography
The region is situated at the centre of the Italian peninsula facing the Adriatic, which it follows along 150 km of beaches and rocks. With an area of 10,794 km2 (4,168 sq mi), and bordered on the east by the Adriatic and on the west by the Apennines, it is one of the most mountainous regions in Italy (the Corno Grande in the Gran Sasso massif, at 2,914 m (9,560.37 ft), is the highest summit in the Apennines). The rivers, although numerous, are all seasonal except for the biggest - the Pescara and the Sangro. In the interior are the 500 km2 (190 sq mi) of the Abruzzo National Park, where rare examples of Mediterranean flora and fauna survive (chamois, wolves, bears, golden eagles).The climate is varied - warm and dry on the coast, an alpine climate the mountainous interior. Major roads and railway lines link the region to the south, west and north of Italy and the rest of Europe.
Humans have inhabited Abruzzo since Neolithic times. A skeleton from Lama dei Peligni in the province of Chietii has been radiometrically dated to 6,540 bp. The name Abruzzo appears to derive from the Latin "Aprutium", although in Roman times the region was known at various times as Picenum, Sabina et Samnium, Flaminia et Picenum and/or Campania et Samnium. This region was known as Aprutium in the Middle Ages arising from four possible sources. Many think it is apparently a corruption of Praetutium, or rather of the name of the people Praetutii, applied to their chief city, Interamnaes, now present day Teramo. Another etymology is from the Latin "aper" (boar) so that Aprutium was the "land of boars" or from "abruptum" (rugged, steep). A more recent etymology is from the Latin expression "a Bruttiis" (from the Bruttii) meaning the land that began from the Bruzi people, who moved south to occupy Calabria.
Until 1963 it was part of the Abruzzi region with Molise. The term Abruzzi derives from the time when the region was part of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and the territory was administered as Abruzzo Citeriore (Nearer Abruzzo) and Abruzzo Ulteriore I and II (Farther Abruzzo I and II ), that being nearer and farther from Naples, the capital of the kingdom. Abruzzo Citeriore is present day Chieti province. Abruzzo Ulteriore I comprised the Teramo and Pescara provinces; Abruzzo Ulteriore II is now the Province of L'Aqu
Abruzzo produces just one DOCG and three DOC wines that, though they carry brand names, used to be little known abroad and misjudged as cheap, generic, supermarket varieties. This is changing though, as of much of southern Italy the region is undergoing a gradual transition from bulk-wine production to bottled, boutique wines. In other words, a transition from a strictly industrial wine culture to one in which a limited and cared-for production that can bring commercial success and prosperity to the local residents.
Though the situation is changing, there still a tendency by wine critics, including Italian ones, to look down on the wines produced in the mezzogiorno, or southern Italy. What is missing in this blanket evaluation of Abruzzo wines, is the fact that many better-regarded French and northern Italian wines contain in various measures wine from this region, since much of it’s production is still shipped north for blending purposes.
The four DOC produced in Abruzzo are the Contro Guerra, Trebbiano d'Abruzzo, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo and Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Colline Teramane.
The last two should not be confused with the Tuscan Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. While the Tuscan one takes its name from the town where it’s made in the province of Siena, the Abruzzo wine is made with a grape named Montepulciano.
- Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Colline Teramane
- Montepulciano d'Abruzzo - Sub denominations: Cerasuolo, Rosso
- Trebbiano d'Abruzzo
- Alto Tirino
- Colli Aprutini
- Colli del Sangro
- Colline Frentane
- Colline Pescaresi
- Colline Teatine
- Del Vastese or Histonium
- Terre di Chieti
- Valle Peligna
Grapes and wines
The native Montepulciano (not to be confused with the town of that name in Tuscany where Vino Nobile is made) is a vine of undeniable distinction, even if its inherent class is not as widely acclaimed as it deserves to be. In parts of the Abruzzi, most notably in the low hills of the northern province of Teramo, Montepulciano becomes a red of irresistible character - full-bodied, even robust, with a capacity to age but with such supple smoothness that it can be eminently drinkable even when young. In higher inland areas, or from vineyards where growers have the habit of excessive yields, the wines tend to be lighter, often better suited to Cerasuolo, a sturdy, cherry-coloured rose'. A fair quantity of inky, strong blending wine is also produced in the region.
Most Trebbiano is based on the prolific Tuscan variety, which makes light, rather acidic whites of subtle aroma and flavour. A few growers work with the "true" Trebbiano d'Abruzzo (which may or may not be related to the Bombino Bianco of Apulia). One manages to make a Trebbiano of remarkable depth and texture, with a propensity to develop almost Burgandy-like complexity with four or five years, sometimes even more, of ageing. But these fine wines are rarely found in commerce, even in Italy.
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