COLLINE TERAMANE MONTEPULCIANO D’ABRUZZO DOCG is a red wine based on the Montepulciano grape grown in the northern part of the Abruzzo region (and thus just south of the Marche) on Italy’s Adriatic coast. The production zone lies between the Gran Sasso mountain and the Adriatic coast. Once part of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo it became a separate DOCG from the 2003 harvest under the name Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane DOCG. This translates from Italian as ‘Montepulciano from the Teramo Hills’, Teramo being Abruzzo’s most northerly province and in which all the vineyards for this wine are found. From 2016 the wine was renamed Colline Teramane Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOCG.
WHEN TERAMANE BROKE AWAY | In the north of Abruzzo the producers of Teramo province reacted to economic recession and a price war by requesting an increase in the minimum alcoholic content of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, to counteract the downgrading of quality and style that a reduction (as championed in the south) would imply. When they failed they decided they had to go the whole hog, complete separation, and request a DOCG – to be known as Colline Teramane – for their part of the region (Ashley, 1993).
SIZE | 135 hectares (333 acres), 50 wineries producing 1.2 million bottles (Shah 2017, p14).
PRODUCTION ZONE | 30 communes in the province of Teramo, namely: Ancarano, Atri, Basciano, Bellante, Campli, Canzano, Castellalto, Castiglione Messer Raimondo, Castilenti, Celino Attanasio, Cermignano, Civitella del Tronto, Colonnella, Controguerra, Corropoli, Giulianova, Martinsicuro, Montorio al Vomano, Morro d’Oro, Mosciano Sant’Angelo, Nereto, Notaresco, Penna Sant’Andrea, Pineto, Roseto degli Abruzzi, Sant’Egidio alla Vibrata, Sant’Omero, Silvi, Teramo, Torano Nuovo, Tortoreto.
TERROIR | Ashley (1993) says the production zone covers ‘a distinct U-shaped area of Teramo [province and is] particularly predisposed to viticulture. Within this area all the top producers are situated. Probably the best of all have vineyards in the extreme north, on the concave, south-facing slopes of the ridge of hills between the rivers Tronto (bordering the Marche) and Vibrata.’ The maximum altitude for the vineyards is 500 metres (1,800 feet).
SOILS | Clay-rich.
VITICULTURE | Minimum vine density of 3,000 vines per hectare for new plantings. Maximum yield of 7 kilograms of grapes per vine.
THE WINE, WINEMAKING & BOTTLING | The wine is made from 90-100% Montepulciano, 0-10% Sangiovese. The wines must be made in the delimited production zone (see above). Until 2014 the wines had to age at least 24 months before release of which at least 12 months in oak. One addition only was allowed of upto 15% wine from a younger vintage. Wines released 36 months after harvest can be called Riserva (only 12 months of which need to have been in oak). Bottling must take place within the production zone. From 2016 new rules came in stipulating a minimum of one year of ageing with at least two months in bottles, whilst for Riserva the rule became 3 years of ageing of which one year in oak and no less than 2 months in bottle before release.
COLLINE TERAMANE MONTEPULCIANO WINERIES
Emidio Pepe. / Farnese. / Illuminati. / Lepore. / Masciarelli. / Montoria. / Nicodemi. / Stefania Pepe.
CERTIFIED ORGANIC, BIODYNAMIC PRACTICES
Maureen Ashley MW, ‘Southern Peaks’, Decanter April 1993 p46.
Michele Shah, ‘Turning the ship around,’ Meininger’s Wine Business International, October 2017 Vol 12 Issue 5, p14-15
Oz Clarke 2015, Oz Clarke Wine A-Z (Pavilion, 2015), p24.