Organically Grown For Wine Of The Month

In the hills around Pescara, the Marramiero family has grown vines since 1900 but didn't establish a winery until 1990. Dante Marramiero and now his children, Patrizia and Enrico, cultivate about 30 hectares of Montepulciano and Trebiano, as well as the international varieties, especially Chardonnay, which they use for their well known sparkling wine, Marramiero Brut, one of the Abruzzi region's best and a favorite of many wine of the month clubs.

The vineyard manager Antonio Chiavaroli has converted farming practices to biodynamic viticulture, a system that is entirely self-contained with absolutely nothing brought in from outside of the property boundaries. Whatever nutrients the plants might need must be grown on the property, and all plant diseases and pests are controlled with cultivation strategies and by attracting natural predators, a farming system that is even more rigorous than organic viticulture, making it preferred by many wine of the month clubs.

Villa Medoro

Owned by the Della Loggia-Morricone family for three generations, the 92-hectare estate is located in the Teramane Hills of Abruzzi, overlooking the Adriatic Sea. In 1997, the family redirected its efforts away from everyday wines for local consumption to super premium quality wines and, with the release of its 2004 Montepulciano Riserva "Adrano," won its first prestigious Tre Biccierri (Three Glasses) award in the "Gambero Rosso" guide, Italy's most highly respected wine-rating publication.

The passion and dedication of winemaker Federica Morricone is largely responsible for the current success of the winery, backed by well-known consulting enologist Riccardo Cotarella and consulting viticulturists Pierpaoli Sirch and Marco Simonit. In 2007, "Gambero Rosso" named Villa Medoro "Up-and-Coming Winery of the Year," making their wines desired by wine clubs, for its splendid results with the traditional wines of the region, the red Montepulciano and the white Trebbiano d'Abruzzo.

Piero Costantini

Located in the Lazio region, the 27-hectare Villa Simone estate is about an hour from the center of Rome in Monteporzio Catone in the Frascati zone. Owners Piero and Rosy Costantini also operate a well-known wine shop in Rome, Enoteca Costantini, with an enormous inventory of some of the best wines of Italy and France adored by many wine of the month clubs. In Piazza Cavour near the Vatican Wall, the Enoteca incorporates the restaurant Simposio, where visitors can join a mini wine club to taste wines and sample delicious cheeses and salumi.

The winery has distinguished itself especially with its reds, made from Sangiovese and Cesanese, but it also makes classically styled white Frascati. The Lazio region that surrounds Rome has cultivated vines forever but in the 1980s gave way to mass-produced wines. Since 1995, the region has been enjoying a Renaissance of quality wines, driven by wine of the month clubs and new wineries that expect to fully develop the potential of the area.

Abruzzo

Abruzzo has its fair share of art and architecture throughout its hill towns and mountain villages, but the Apennine mountains dominate the region, taking up two thirds of the area and attracting hikers and skiers to resorts. The vast Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo is one of Europe's most important nature preserves. Decendants of various hill tribes, who settled the region in the Bronze Age, the Abruzzesi were difficult to unite, although the Greeks, Romans Swabians, Aragonese, and Bourbons all tried. Before the advent of modern transportation, the inhabitants were isolated in hill towns and villages clinging to the sides of mountains.

After the 12th century, the Abruzzesi were ruled by a succession of dynasties based in Naples to the south. As a result, their diet, speech, and customs are more similar to their southern neighbors than to their neighbors to the north or west. The hills in the region are highly favorable for grapevines. The two classified wines are Trebbiano and Montepulciano, not to be confused with the town of that name in Toscana, where Vino Nobile is made.

When grown on the lower hills, Montepulciano has an irresistible character, full bodied and smooth with the capacity to age, a wine of the month club favorite. In the higher areas, the vines produce a lighter version, Ceraruolo, which is a sturdy, cherry-colored rose`. The white Trebbiano d'Abruzzo has been described as a phantom vine, since its origins are unclear, although it is ideal for wine of the month clubs. At its best, the wine can develop a Burgundy-like complexity after four or five years of aging.

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About The Author, Kent Campbell
Kent Campbell is a co-author for Celebrations Wine Club in collaboration with Anna Maria Knapp. Celebrations Wine Club (http://www.celebrationswineclub.com) is one of the few wine of the month clubs delivering the best wines of California and Italy for more than 18 years.