Essential Travel Guide to Abruzzo Wine Region
Abruzzo wine region is located on the east coast of Adriatic sea and best known for its Montelpuciano wine, which provides complex and rich aromas. The biggest part of Abruzzo territory is covered with national parks and nature reserves. However, you won’t be missing hilltop medieval and renaissance towns. So, as you might already guess, here landscape changes from the mountains to the sandy beaches and so does the eclectic and diverse cuisine of the region.
Abruzzo wine region still has plenty of undiscovered places. It can take you to an unexpected experience, which is somehow still hidden next to already worn touristic highlights of Italy. Don’t underestimate, if you don’t see about this region in the famous tourist guidebooks. Better to discover it through its diverse landscape, heritage places and of course local gastronomy paired with world-renowned wines.
What You Should Know About Abruzzo Wines
Abruzzo wine region is best known for DOCG – Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane which is the best of the best from this region, and three DOC wine designations that are three region-wide wine denominations. These are Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo followed with white wine appellation Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. however, you will find also other, less-known DOC and IGT wines from the region.
STORYTIME: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is often confused with famous Tuscan wine, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano made from the very Tuscan grape – Sangiovese. However, in the 19th century, it was thought that Sangiovese and Montepulciano grapes might be related but this version proved false. It is just a coincidence that Tuscany or Abruzzi use the same name, or that Abruzzi took the name for their grape from famous Renaissance town. Versions could be diverse, but the fact is fact Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano are two totally different wines and have their own legacy.
Style of wines
The Montepulciano often convinces even in youth with fruity aromas and velvety texture. After a few years in the bottle, it develops into a delicate, full-bodied and fine tannin equipped wine. Incidentally, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo has nothing to do with Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
The Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo DOC is a rich rosé version of Montepulciano. But beware, it is not a light tasty summer wine!
The region combines two climates: Continental climate prevails in the mountainous interior and affects about two-thirds of the area, while the Mediterranean is the coast. The influence of sea and mountains causes strong temperature fluctuations between day and night, supported by good ventilation, the basis of elegant wines. They are also known internationally.
Visit Agriverde winery to taste their cherry pink Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo wine with intense fruity bouquet of strawberry, raspberry and sour cherry!
White wine is produced significantly less in DOP quality (only 9%). Although the Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Pecorino, and other regional specialties always perform well at international tasting events, they remain niche products – simply because there are so few.
Ruler of the Abruzzo vineyards is the red Montepulciano grape, the basis of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, which also includes the rose variety Cerasuolo. Montepulciano is currently being cultivated on around 17,000 hectares, with an upward trend.
In addition to the white Trebbiano d’Abruzzo grape, other indigenous grape varieties such as Passerina, Pecorino or Cococciola are becoming increasingly important.
Furthermore, you can also find Barbera, Ciliegiolo and some French varieties Such as Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and a little Pinot Nero.
Have a look at wineries you can visit in Abruzzo!
Discover Culutral Heritage of Abruzzo
Pescara – the provincial capital
The best way to get to know Pescara is to take a walk along Corso Umberto I, which ends in Piazza Rinascita, better known in the city as “Piazza Salotto”. From there, continue to Piazza Primo Maggio on the coast. Provincial Administration and City Hall are in Piazza Italia. On the Corso Monthonè in the old town pulsates the nightlife.
A few years ago, the Museum of Modern Art Vittoria Colonna was inaugurated in the heart of the city. However, one of the most visited sites is probably the birthplace of Gabriele D’Annunzio, the famous poet.
L’Aquila – in the heart of Abruzzo
Through an unexpectedly impressive mountain panorama, this medieval hill and university town (65000 Ew.) can be reached from Rome or from the Adriatic coast. The town of L’Aquila has existed since 1240, framed and protected by the high mountain ranges of the Gran Sasso and the Monti della Laga.
With its 16th-century Spanish fortress, the church of Santa Maria di Collemaggio and the Basilica of Saint Bernard, the city testifies its long history of settlement.
A popular meeting point is the fountain “Fontana Delle 99 cannelle” from the 13th century. Its 99 tubes represent the former 99 castles of the area.
Sulmona – the “sweet” town
The city of Sulmona is not only idyllic in a UNESCO-protected valley, but it is also famous for its delicacies: Torrone, classic Italian nougat comes from here. Above all, Sulmona is the capital of candied almonds, which are referred to here as confetti. These are covered with a colourful cast, the list of flavours is endless: Nutella, Tiramisu, all fruits or even ricotta pear.
The streets of Sulmona are lined with colourful and sugary creations!
It’s Time to Enjoy Abruzzese Gastronomy
The Abruzzo cuisine uses high-quality, local and seasonal ingredients, many of which are now labelled “organic”, although they have been grown and used for centuries. Among other things, the region offers grapes, olives, wheat, and sugar beet. The Abruzzo is also an excellent area for truffles of very high quality.
Maccheroni alla chitarra – square noodles
Chitarra are square spaghetti. They are made in a special wooden frame, in which similar to a guitar or zither parallel steel wires are stretched through which the noodle dough rolled out to a few millimeters is pressed with a rolling pin. This result is spaghetti or maccheroni with a square cross-section and a length corresponding to that of the wooden frame.
For the sauce, which accompanies this exceptional type of pasta, pork, lamb, and beef are cut into small pieces and cooked with tomatoes and spices. For the finish, the dish is sprinkled with Parmesan.
Caciotta fritta – crispy warm cheese
From the mountains of central Abruzzo comes the easy-to-prepare dish of fried caciotta, in which a piece of young filata cheese is first breaded and then fried. Caciotta is a semi-hard and semi-fat cheese with a mild, aromatic taste. It is made from cow or sheep’s milk, more rarely from goat or buffalo milk, but often from milk mix. This fits very well with a salad as a light lunch or alone as an antipasti.
Torrone di Alvito – white Nougat from Italy
Already in the eighteenth century, Alvito produced a soft “Torrone” made with almonds, candied fruit, and glaze. Since the first years of the twentieth century, this tradition has been renewed and the product range has been multiplied.
The base is a “Pasta Reale” (almond dough), which is a dough made from almonds, sugar, and water boiled in a water bath, refined and cuts into pieces. The small “Torroncini” are then covered with bitter or milk chocolate, or with coffee and hazelnuts flavoured chocolate.
Want to Escape in Nature?
Abruzzo is located on the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic Sea and the long, silvery band of beaches offering everything you can expect from a holiday that relieves stress and triggers new enthusiasm: The 150-kilometer-long coastline with its charming sandy beaches merges magically with the green hills of the hinterland and develops into majestic and imposing peaks like those of the Gran Sasso.
Top 3 to visit in Abruzzo
Grotte di Stiffe – Stalactite cave with impressive waterfall
Grotte di Stiffe is located in a very beautiful part of central Abruzzo, about 17 kilometres (11 miles) southeast of the city of L’Aquila. Grotte di Stiffe is one of the most interesting caves that you can visit in Italy with its beautiful stalactite and stalagmite formations.
However, what makes the tour unique is the breathtaking Mystic Canyon, which invites for hiking waterfall in the cave, which empties into a small lake. A river flows through the cave and creates a waterfall when there is enough water. The best time to see the waterfall is in spring when there is the most water.
Gole del Salinello – Mystic Canyon, which invites for hiking
Not far from Civitella del Tronto you can hike in the Salinello gorges. A natural environment that combines history, culture, and nature between the two slopes of Monti Gemelli: Montagna di Campli and Montagna de Fiori.
The creator of this natural monument was the Salinello Torrent, who over millions of years built a “gorge” over the entire mountain that is several kilometres long, about 200 meters high and no more than five meters wide to several tens of meters wide Meters, determination of waterfalls, caves and caves.
Riserva Natural die Calanchi di Atri
A Bit Wild West in The Middle of Italy
The protected area which established in 1995, covers 380 hectares of a hilly landscape. The reserve is famous for its particular landscape formations called badlands, which derives from the erosion of the clay soil.
Discovering flora and fauna of Riserva Natural die Calanchi di Atri is an exceptional experience. On the way, you will discover huts or Rifugio as Italians call it. They are open from mid-June to mid-September, those with good access from the valleys sometimes much longer, but sometimes only on weekends.
Snowfields are still to be expected until July. Sure-footedness and head for heights are an important condition for that trail.
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