Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Marramiero and Angelucci: Two Wineries in the Abruzzo

Marramiero is one of the better known wineries of the Abruzzo, and a friend insisted I try their wines a number of years ago. They greatly impressed me, but Vinitaly is large enough and dispersed enough that it's impossible to keep track of everyone. However, this year a tasting of sparkling wines in the Abruzzo pavilion was delayed, so I decided to take advantage of the Regione Abruzzo's stand to taste through Pecorino, a white grape that I knew little about.

Though there are a number of theories regarding the name, which is clearly related to sheep (pecore in Italian, while Pecorino is also sheep's milk cheese), the most likely seems to be that the name is related to the transumanza, or twice-yearly migration from summer to winter pasturelands: Pecorino grapes ripen in early September, about the time of the migration south, and sheep, who know a good thing when they come across it, would eagerly enter the vineyards along their trails to eat the grapes. Hence the name.

One of the Pecorinos that most impressed me at the Regione Abruzzo's stand was Marramiero's and I therefore took notes and then went to pay a visit to their stand.

Marramiero Pecorino Colline Pescaresi IGT 2009
Pale brassy white with golden reflections and greenish highlights. The bouquet is fairly rich, with heather and greenish accents mingled with cut grass, hints of milkiness, and spice. Nice balance. On the palate it's ample, with fairly languid minerality supported by savory accents and sea salt, which flow into a clean savory finish uplifted by moderate acidity. Pleasant in a languid key, and will be nice as an aperitif or with simple soups and vegetarian dishes.
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

Marramiero Anima Trebbiano D'Abruzzo DOC 2009
As one might guess from the vintage, this fermented in steel. It's pale white, with greenish yellow reflections and highlights. The bouquet is still closed, though swishing brings up spice and cut heather, and floral accents with some greenish vegetal overtones. Nice depth. On the palate it's deft, with full savory yellow berry fruit supported by bright berry fruit acidity that flows into a fairly long savory finish. Quick to write but quite nice, and will work very well with vegetarian risotti, soups, or pasta dishes, and also has the power to accompany both fried fish and white meats. Worth seeking out.

Marramiero Altare Trebbiano D'Abruzzo DOC 2007
This instead goes into oak. It's fairly rich gold with greenish reflections and white rim, and has a powerful, fairly oaky bouquet with vanilla and butterscotch overshadowing fruit, though some acidity does emerge. On the palate it's ample and rather languid, with bitter savory minerality that flows into a clean mineral finish with some savory bitterness and hints of vanilla from the wood. It's quite elegant, and the oak will fold in nicely with time, but I missed the richness and vibrant acidity displayed by the unoaked Trebbiano. The former is a Siamese cat with all the brash talkativeness of the breed, whereas here it has had its claws pulled. If you like oaked white wines it is very well made, but you have to like the style.
2 stars

Marramiero Incanto Montepulciano D'Abruzzo DOC 2007
This is in steel; it's deep cherry ruby with cherry rim, and has a rich bouquet with cherry fruit supported by bitter India ink and clean leathery minerality. Pleasant and inviting, and there is also some acidity to provide lift. On the palate it's full and rich, with clean sweet cherry fruit supported by languid berry fruit acidity and smooth sweet tannins that display some warm splintery youth, but will become silky with time. Quite pleasant, and though it will drink very well with grilled meats, I'd also be tempted to swerve it with creamy dishes, for example a chicken pot pie.

Marramiero Inferi Montepulciano D'Abruzzo DOC 2006
This is instead barrique aged; it's deep pigeon blood ruby with black reflections. the bouquet is intense, with India ink laced with cedar and some berry fruit, with underlying spice. It's still quite young, and coming together, in a more international key than the Incanto. On the palate it's ample and smooth, with rich berry fruit supported by smooth sweet tannins that have vanilla-laced bitterness more than acidity, and flow into a clean rather sour berry fruit finish with lasting bitterness. Pleasant in an international key, and if you like the style, which is powerful and fruit driven, you will enjoy it. Considerably, and it also has the capacity to age well for a decade or more.

Marramiero Dante Marramiero Montepulciano D'Abruzzo DOC 1999
Brick almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is full and powerful, with jammy berry fruit laced with balsam and some acidity, and supported by wood smoke and cedar. Considerable harmony and depth coupled with great elegance. On the palate it's full and rich, with powerful slightly savory berry fruit supported by clean brambly acidity and smooth sweet tannins that flow into a clean fairly bright berry fruit finish with deft brambly acidic underpinning and some bitterness. Quite nice, and fully mature; it will continue to age nicely for many years, and will work well with grilled meats or hearty stews including those made from game. An impressive wine.

Angelucci: An Interesting Autochthonous Moscato

Angelucci is a small winery that makes one wine, a Moscatello, using a Moscato clone indigenous to the Abruzzo, which was remarked on in the 1700s but then largely forgotten. The Angelucci family decided to revive cultivation, and had the grape recognized by the Regione Abruzzo's Department of Agriculture in 2009.

Angelucci Moscatello Passito 2009
Brassy gold with brassy reflections. The bouquet is rich, and classically Moscatello, with honeysuckle and honeydew melon mingled with sweetness and acacia honey. Quite intense and quite elegant. On the palate it's full and sweet, with rich candied apricot fruit with some honeydew melon accents, supported by bright acidity, while there are also bitter notes to balance the sweetness, and the finish is long and sweet. Quite pleasant; despite its richness it is light on its toes, and this makes it a refreshing change with respect to many Moscato-based Passiti that are more cloying. If you like sweet wines you will like it very much, and though people commonly talk about serving this sort of wine with dry pastries (shortbreads and similar) I would be tempted to serve it with cheeses instead.

1 comment:

Bodach said...

I've been a fan of the Marramiero Montepulciano d'Abruzzo for a few years now. Their boxed wine (am I committing a sacrilege here) has become my table/casual wine of choice.

I've enjoyed the Incanto and Inferi although the Inferi at €16 in Abruzzo is often out of my price range.

I didn't realise they did a sparkling wine so I must try that next time I pass their cantina in Rosciano (PE).