Friday, May 14, 2010

A Selection of Sparkling Wines from the Abruzzo

One doesn't necessarily associate the Abruzzo with sparkling wines, but the Abruzzesi are making them, and presented a selection this year at Vinitaly. They range considerably in style, from strictly autochthonous Pecorino to Pinot Nero, and from the metodo charmat through the metodo classico, which means that there are spumanti Abruzzesi for a wide variety of occasions. It was an interesting presentation that I rather enjoyed.


Chiarieri Jeanette Pecorino Spumante Brut 2009

Pale brassy gold with brilliant greenish highlights and fine perlage. The bouquet is fairly intense, with savory accents and sweaty blonde 8one writes what one smells), mingled with some milky cheesy savory accents, which may sound odd, but work well. Enticing. On the palate it's fairly rich, with clean savory white berry fruit laced with clean floral accents and minerality supported by peppery sparkle that confers a degree of creaminess. Pleasant and will drink quite well as an aperitif, or as a vino da tutto pasto, a wine for the meal.
2 stars


Marramiero Brut Metodo Classico
This is a non-vintage blend of Pinot Nero and Chardonnay. It's pale brassy gold with brilliant golden reflections and fine perlage that bubbles up and settles. The bouquet is intense, with breadcrumbs and floral accents mingled with butterscotch and some spice with underlying hints of bitterness. On the palate it's ample, with pepperiness from the sparkle, which is a little too sharp to make the wine creamy, and lively lemony acidity that flows into a clean fairly rich finish with savory citric acidity. Pleasant in a slightly large shouldered key; it brings to mind a person who has overdone it though slightly in the weight room, while the acidity and savory accents keep it interesting. Muscular and enthusiastic.
2 stars

Tenuta Ulisse

Tenuta Ulisse Unico Pecorino Brut 2009
Pale brassy white with brassy reflections and white rim; fine perlage. The bouquet is fairly rich, with sweaty blonde mingled with some chalk and spice, and a pleasant degree of overripeness. On the palate it's ample, rich, and soft, with clean minerality supported by considerable softness and some savory accents that flow into a clean mineral finish that gains creaminess form the sparkle. It will work quite wella s an aperitif or with foods.
2 stars

Illuminati Dino

Illuminati Brut 2009
This is 60% Trebbiano and 40% Verdicchio, and is pale brassy yellow with fine perlage. The bouquet is quite mineral with some greenish accents mingled with gunflint minerality. On the palate it's ample, creamy, and mineral, with moderate mineral-laced citric fruit supported by minerality and citric notes that flow into a fairly long rather bitter finish. Mineral is the dominant characteristic in this case.
1 star

Azienda Nicola Santoleri

Santoleri Sii Me Spumante Brut 2008

This is a rosé from Montepulciano D'Abruzzo, and is salmon with brilliant reflections and fine perlage. The bouquet is bright, with sour berry fruit supported by acidity and peppery spice. On the palate it's ample, and softer than I expected, with moderate berry fruit supported by sparkle and mineral acidity that flow into a clean finish with some metallic accents. I found it to be the weakest of the five wines presented, and though I found it interesting froma wine tasting standpoint, it didn't excite me.
1 star

Taken as a group the five wines show that the Abruzzo has good potential as a sparkling wine region. In particular, I found the Pecorino-based wines to be interesting. Marramiero's Pinot Nero-Chardonnay blend was also good, but a bit more anonymous -- there are may great sparkling wines made with these grapes in other parts of the world, and to present the blend in the Abruzzo seems to me like reinventing the wheel. The final two, a Trebbiano Verdicchio blend and a Montepulciano, were weaker. Pleasant, but I don't see either attracting attention on the international stage.

1 comment:

Wneandfood4u said...

Tenuta Ulisse Unico Pecorino Brut 2009 is a great great wine! :)