Abruzzo / Red / Montepulciano / Organic , Biodynamic
Montepulciano D’Abruzzo DOC, Abruzzo
Grapes are hand-harvested before destemming by hand. Maceration for 7/8 days before gentle tannin extraction with punch down only - no pump over followed by ageing for two years in cement tank before further ageing in the bottle. Iconic wine from an iconic producer. This is age worthy Montepulciano at its best.
Notes on the producer
The Pepe family estate was founded in 1899 and for much of that time it was dedicated to growing high yields of grapes to sell to a local co-op. It was only in 1964 that Emidio Pepe decided that the quality of their grapes was too good to waste and moved towards producing their own wines. Back then, this was limited to just a single hectare of vines. Today it stands at around 17 hectares.
While Pepe’s wines today are produced using painstakingly precise organic and biodynamic techniques, in the 1960s he initially tried to be ahead of the game, buying the latest and most innovative machinery. But he soon realised that this would mean constantly upgrading his machines to meet the demands of a local market known for its cheap, bland, and young wines. Instead, he took a leap of faith and developed his own philosophy of winemaking – much to the derision of other winemakers at the time, many of whom, understandably, were awestruck by the rapid modernisation of farming technology.
Emidio Pepe is assisted in his work by two of his daughters, Sofia and Daniela, and granddaughter Chiara. The terroir they work on is in the hills, between the Adriatic Sea and the Apennine Mountains, creating excellent conditions for the Montepulciano and Trebbiano grapes that grow there. The vines are grown up pergolas, which means that the leaves soak up the hot summer sun, while the grapes hang below in the cooler shade. This technique also allows better airflow around the plants. The soil, mainly of clay and calcareous rock, is maintained using traditional methods, the grapes are picked by hand, and treatments using synthetic chemicals are strictly avoided. Another peculiarity of Pepe is that he uses exclusively cement tanks to age his wines, rather than oak barrels which he feels adds unnecessary oak tones in the wine. Emidio's wines are unfiltered, unfined, and sulphites are forbidden.