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La Valentina Trebbiano dAbruzzo (1.5 L) 1998
The area benefits from a special microclimate, taking advantage of cool breezes from the mountains and the maritime winds from the Adriatic.
The vineyards are impeccable, on clay and gravel soil, they are managed like a well kept market garden. Yields are low and harvesting by hand carries on until late October achieving optimum ripeness.
The results are remarkable with intense rich red wines that have oceans of fruit, bright rich black fruit flavours, as well as enough spice, elegance and depth to make them ideal partners to many Italian dishes ... especially pastas and risottos.
Named “Oenotria” by the ancient Greeks for its abundance of grapevines, Italy has always had a culture that is virtually inextricable from wine. Wine grapes are grown just about everywhere throughout the country—a long and narrow boot-shaped peninsula extending into the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas. The defining geographical feature of the country is the Apennine Mountain range, extending from Liguria in the north to Calabria in the south. The island of Sicily nearly grazes the toe of Italy’s boot, while Sardinia lies to the country’s west. Climate varies significantly throughout the country, with temperature being somewhat more dependent on elevation than latitude, though it is safe to generalize that the south is warmer. Much of the highest quality viticulture takes place on gently rolling, picturesque hillsides.
Italy boasts more indigenous varieties than any other country—between 500 and 800, depending on whom you ask—and most wine production relies upon these native grapes. In some regions, international varieties have worked their way in, but their use is declining in popularity, especially as younger growers begun to take interest in rediscovering forgotten local specialties. Sangiovese is the most widely planted variety in the country, reaching its greatest potential in parts of Tuscany. Nebbiolo is the prized grape of Piedmont in the northwest, producing singular, complex and age-worthy wines. Other important varieties include Montepulciano, Trebbiano, Barbera, Nero d’Avola and of course, Pinot Grigio.
Also known as Ugni blanc in France, Trebbiano claims a top slot in white grape vineyard acreage in Italy. The gold to amber colored variety is so productive, and so much planted in both France and Italy, the world’s two major wine-producing countries, that it may produce more wine than any other vine variety in the world. There are six distinct varieties with Trebbiano as part of their name in Italy alone and it is cited in over 80 DOC regulations—more than any other single variety.
Trebbiano Toscano, one of the most popular, is deliciously light and crisp. Trebbiano d’Abruzzo actually has some aging potential when handled carefully. Ugni blanc is responsible for the whites in the southwest of France called Gascogne blanc. Characterized by green melon, lemon grass and apple flavors and a long, tingling finish, these are fun and often value-priced so make great alternatives to Sauvignon blanc if you’re looking for something new to try.