Colline Teramane Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOCG is an Italian red wine based on Montepulciano grapes grown in the hills (‘Colline’) of the Abruzzo region’s most northerly province,Teramo, just south of Le Marche between the Gran Sasso mountain and Italy’s Adriatic coast. The DOCG dates from the 2003 vintage onwards after Colline Teramane separated itself from the existing Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC.
Why Teramane broke away: 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 DOC, to counteract the downgrading of quality and style that a reduction (as championed in the south) would imply. When they failed they decided to secede by requesting and obtaining their own Colline TeramaneDOCG for their part of the region (Maureen Ashley MW: Decanter, April 1993).
Size: 135 hectares (333 acres), 50 wineries producing 1.2 million bottles (Michèle Shah: Meininger’s, 2017, p.14).
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: Maureen Ashley MW (Decanter April 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). Ian d’Agata (2019: p.153) says that although ‘exceptions exists he ‘finds ‘the area too large, too clay-rich, and too hot to make truly great wines.’
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.
Dr Ian d’Agata, Native Wine Grape Terroirs (University of California Press, 2019).
Oxford Companion to Wine 4th edition ed. Jancis Robinson MW and Julia Harding MW (Oxford University Press, 2015).
Oz Clarke 2015, Oz Clarke Wine A-Z (Pavilion, 2015), p.24.