Why Be Curious? These are legendary and uncompromisingly natural wines from a region known more for everyday, rustic quaffers. They’re wines of exquisite personality and balance that always express the nuances of vintage. The wines unfold slowly but inexorably and almost magically; the family maintains a library of 350,000 bottles, going back to Emidio’s first vintage of 1964.
Produttore / Producer: Emidio Pepe is one of the true legends in Italian wine – a man who set out in 1964 to make some of the best wines in the world through entirely natural methods in the vineyard and in the cellar. Emidio recently started his sixth decade of work in the vineyard, while his daughters Sofia and Daniela and granddaughter Chiara have taken over much of the work in the winery and in promoting the family’s wines.
Vigna / Vineyard: The Pepe family estate in the village of Torano Nuovo, in the northern-most part of Abruzzo, comprises 15 hectares of Montepulciano, Trebbiano, and Pecorino vines, plus some olive trees.
Cantina / Cellar: Destemmed by hand, pressed by foot, fermented with native yeasts and aged in glass-lined concrete tanks for two years. Unfiltered, unfined, and unsulfured. Older vintages are decanted by hand and recorked upon receipt of the order.
Il Vino / The Wine: Depending on the vintage: meaty, savory, brambly, dusty, smoky, herbal, tangy, nervy, balsamic…. These are wines that quickly exhaust the adjectives, and, more importantly, make you stop caring about the adjectives. There’s deep complexity, combined with a frankness that makes it easy to dive in.
A Tavola… / At the Table… Hearty fare, such as the pork ribs and sausage that Rosa Pepe served us on our first visit, or polenta with a meat sauce. An older vintage is an occasion unto itself (or a vino da meditazione, as Italians say), needing nothing more than a piece of Pecorino cheese and the best of friends.
Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
Vigna / Vineyard
Denominazione / Appellation: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.
Nome / Name: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.
Ettari / Hectares: 15 hectares total for the estate, 70% of which is Montepulciano.
Quota / Altitude: 240 m / 785 ft.
Suoli / Type of soils: Rich in clay.
Esposizione / Exposure: Various.
Vitigni / Varieties: 100% Montepulciano.
Età delle viti / Vine age: Oldest are 40+ years old.
Allevamento / Trellis system: Tendone (traditional abruzzese method) and filare (guyot).
Metodo di vendemmia / Harvest technique: Hand harvested.
Metodo agricolo / Agricultural technique: Practicing organic/biodynamic; only sulfur and copper used.
Resa / Yield: 8,000-10,000 kilograms / hectare.
Cantina / Cellar
Lieviti / Yeasts: Native.
Fermentazione alcolica / Alcoholic fermentation: 10-15 days.
Élevage: Two years in glass-lined cement tanks.
Chiarificazione, filtrazione / Clarification, filtration: None.
Zolfo / Sulphur: None added.
Altri prodotti aggiunti? / Other products added?: None.
Produzione annua / Annual production: 50,000 bottles.
Gradazione alcolica / Alcoholic %: 13.5%.
Tappo e bottiglia / Closure and bottle: Natural cork, 750 ml Burgundy bottle.