Abruzzo is a mountainous wine-producing region in central Italy located along the Adriatic coast. In terms of overall wine production, Abruzzo is Italy’s seventh-largest region. However, only 21.5% of total wine production in Abruzzo comes from DOC zones. The two most famous wines from Abruzzo include Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (based on the Montepulciano grape) and Trebbiano d’Abruzzo.
While wines from Abruzzo are made from Montepulciano grapes and the word “Montepulciano” may appear on the label, these are not the same grapes as the Sangiovese grapes used to make Tuscany’s famed Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. And there is no relation to the Tuscan village of Montepulciano, either. In fact, Abruzzo is separated from Tuscany by mountainous terrain. Fully 65% of Abruzzo consists of these mountains.
Abruzzo has 1 DOCG and 3 DOCs. The most famous winemaking sub-zone of Abruzzo is Chieti, which also happens to be the fifth-largest winemaking zone in all of Italy. The best wines come from the hilly vineyards located in the north of Abruzzo from areas such as Pescara and Teramo.
In general, winemaking cooperatives account for 80% of wine production, led by the four largest: Cantina Tollo, Casal Thaulero, Casal Bordino and Citra. These cooperatives take the wine and sell it to regions in France and Italy for blending.
Abruzzo has a Mediterranean climate, which is moderated by two geographical features: the Apennines running along its western border and the Adriatic Sea to the east. Abruzzo is located approximately halfway up the boot of Italy.
Winemaking in Abruzzo has existed since the 6th century B.C., with the arrival of the Etruscans. According to legend, Hannibal’s soldiers drank Abruzzo wine when they made their legendary trek across the Alps.