During this Abruzzo Adventure, of the nine wineries visited, in a town called Cugnoli, is (another) family owned winery, run by brother and sister team Cristiana and Antonio Tiberio, and one of the only wineries (of the ones visited) with wine here in Alberta.
First of all, let me just say, that I first had opportunity to taste these wines during the Italian Wine Ambassador program I took in Veneto, Italy in April. I was so impressed with these wines that after I returned, I immediately began to look and see if we had brought them in for import. Imagine my delight when I saw them in inventory but not yet available to order, but with a quick message to Cristiana herself and the Import Agency, I had an ETA! We have three of her wines in the house right now, with possible two more coming in the very near future. With all of that, along with everyone else, I was excited to see her in person and taste her wines at her place and even walk amongst the vines. What an incredible experience!
And if that wasn’t enough, she and Antonio were gracious in taking us all out for dinner to one Michelin start restaurant La Bandiera in Civitella Casanova, Pescara. An incredible end to an incredible day! The food was fantastic, and I was thrilled (along with everyone else) to be able to taste the Fonte Canale – Tiberio’s small production Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. Can’t wait to get THAT one on my shelf!
I love the fact that Cristiana doesn’t have a LOT of wine, so the tasting itself was intimate and the wines continuing to impress, one right after the other.
2015 was a hot vintage with a hot wind. Trebbiano Abruzzese was harvested 10 days earlier than normal in order to preserve the freshness. Grapes for Fonte Canale are always harvested first because the sugars can change so fast in the grapes. She will usually use the smaller bunches that are most shaded, and closer to the main stalk (such as to the right) For 2015, it was a day before the rest of the TA grapes! By picking when they did, the acidity remained high(er) while preserving the sugars. The skins for Fonte Canale must be soft and Cristiana knows this by taste and feel. Brilliant.
2015 Tiberio Trebbiano d’Abruzzo -this was very fresh with a beautiful nose of golden delicious apples, melons and minerality. High acidity, yet round in the mouth with balanced alcohol. Very elegant with notes of citrus fruits also on the palate. Notes of almonds will be detected with age and development.
2015 Tiberio Pecorino – sage and rosemary with green fruits, citrus and green figs. Rich texture with more herbal notes and green fig on the palate. Very high, crisp acid with balanced alcohol (though high – 14%) with a long, mineral finish. There was this harmony of freshness vs. richness on this wine, and truly one of the best Pecorinos I have ever tasted, and since acid is our friend when food pairing, this would be an excellent choice with food!
We also had the chance to taste her 2006 Pecorino, which at the time, was only her 2nd vintage, with the vines being planted in 2000. The Pecorino vines on the property are some of the oldest in Abruzzo!
I’ve mentioned Cerasuolo before in previous blogs. Let’s be clear on something: these wines are NOT Rosato, nor are they Montepulciano. Yes, they are made with the Montepulciano grapes, but it is called Cerasuolo. The word means cherry, which of course is not just the colour, but major flavour of these wines. In the beginning, before global warming, the Montepulciano grapes had difficulty ripening in mountainous areas (that is certainly not the case now) which allowed them to justify vinifying the grapes to a lighter colour. Now, it’s tradition to make Cerasuolo in Abruzzo and most producers have one! For Tiberio, there is a specific site for the Montepulciano grapes used to make Cerasuolo. These grapes are harvested 2 weeks earlier for optimum freshness. It is then made like a white wine. Short maceration time on the skins for colour, then extraction of the juice only for fermentation.
2015 Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo– Loved this wine! Lots of wild cherry, strawberry and raspberry, just bursting with red fruit on the nose! Great tart cranberry and high acidity on the palate with just a hint of tannins and slight glycerol.
2014 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo – really, one of the finest Montepulciano’s I have tasted. Served in a large bowled glass to enhance the aromas, it had a beautiful nose of cherry, red plum and blood orange with just a hint of cinnamon and sage. Very soft on the palate with cherry, cinnamon, sage, rosemary and smoke. Slight minerality with medium acidity, medium alcohol and medium soft tannins. A nice bright finish! Cristiana only uses stainless steel on the Montepulciano, and is considering barrique for future vintages. Personally, I like the fresher versions of Montepulciano, as it serves to show us the grape itself, rather than have it hide behind a lot of oak usage.
What a fantastic experience to be there, walk amongst the vines, with harvest on the horizon (Pecorino was already being crushed), taste the impeccable wines, then have dinner as a group and be hosted by Cristiana and Antonio! Bravo, and thank you!
If you haven’t had a chance to taste wine from Tiberio, and you are in the Edmonton area, come on by Hicks Fine Wines and pick up a bottle or two! You’ll be glad you did. Salute!