Discovering the Winemakers of Abruzzo
By Julie Maris/Semel
Snow-capped mountains and multiple rainbows sparkled during the two- hour winding drive from Rome’s Leonardo Da Vinci Airport to Abruzzo’s vineyards. The prisms of light illuminated the beautiful and oft-neglected region for drink and nature secreted in the valleys and hills.
Young vintners, as well as the oldest and well-known Emidio Pepe, produce wines which use traditional and contemporary methods. Biodynamic and organic wines and respect for the terroir result in distinctive and individual vintages.
Abruzzo offers everything from its notable Montepulciano d’Abruzzo to hiking in national parks, agritourism including winery tours, and cultural sights such as the Museo Archeologico Nazionale’s 14th c. porticoed façade.
Of the twenty-four national parks in Italy, three are in Abruzzo. Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise known for its conservation and rewilding of the Mariscan brown bear, also hosts the Apennines chamois, wolf, and golden eagle. More than 460 miles of hiking trails through beech trees include rifugios or shelters with options to stay in Pescasseroli, the main town within the park.
Parco Nazionale del Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga, with centuries-old chestnut trees and glaciers, is in the L’Aquila, Pescara, and Teramo provinces. Corno Grande, the highest point in the Apennine mountain range is part of the Gran Sasso massif. Its glacial night winds contribute to the microclimate of the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo vineyards.
In the midst of the park, Campli, one of Abruzzo’s numerous historic villages, the Museo Archeologico Nazionale and the Cathedral of Santa Maria in Platea’s 12th c. frescoed crypt highlight the region’s architecture and art.
Located in the Chieti, Pescara, and L’ Aquila provinces, Parco Nazionale della Majella’s soluble karst typography resulted in caves, sinkholes, and rock hermitages to visit on guided tours. The park’s logo is its Apennine wolf.
Julie Maris/Semel was a guest of the Consortium for the Protection of Wines of Abruzzo. The Consortium’s controlled designations of origin: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOC, Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo DOC, Abruzzo DOC, and Villamagna DOC.