One of the things I have noticed on my trip visiting wine regions is that the best wines come from vineyards planted on a slope. There are exceptions to this of course, but these wines are generally not necessarily of elegance, nor do they come from cool climate regions. All of the regions I have visited in Italy so far, including Tuscany and Valpolicella, have steep and/or terraced vineyards where the best fruit tends to come from. In every case the fruit grown in vineyards on valley floors or flat lands provide volume and approachability. What varies of course is the steepness, elevation, exposition and depth of the soils and this in turn reacts with the particular variety and micro-climates. The fascinating thing about Italy which I didn’t realise is that the entire length of the mainland has a mountain range through it, known as the Appenino Mountains. These mountains are quite wild and imposing between Lazio and Abruzzo/Le Marche, a fact I discovered quite well when I drove from the Adriatic Coast to Rome and back for the weekend. Much like the Great Dividing Range up the east coast of Australia, or the Rockies/Andes Mountains that travels the entire west coast of the Americas, this allows viticulture to be quite diverse and high quality along them. Even in Mediterranean climates like in Abruzzo, you can easily produce red and white wines of elegance and structure, but plenty of fruit and tannin. How one expresses the climate, soils and native varieties is ultimately up to the producer, as I was to discover on my first day in the Abruzzo region.
|Me in the 11th century tower on the Torre Raone estate in Abruzzo|