The western borders of Abruzzo are only 50 miles from bustling Rome but the tempo here is completely different. Almost half of the region consists of protected national parks and nature reserves. An astounding 75% of Europe’s animal species can be found here, including brown bears and golden eagles. The region is dominated by the Grande Sasso, the highest point of the Apennine chain at over 2,900 metres above sea level. Here also is Il Calderone the southernmost glacier in Europe although what remains is but a small reminder of its past grandeur.
Away from the mountains the narrow coastal plain is scored by deep valleys leading to a coastline with some beautiful beaches, making this a popular holiday destination with Italians. And everywhere you go the magnificent Apennines provide a breathtaking backdrop.
Abruzzo’s reputation amongst wine enthusiasts is dominated by the ubiquitous Montepulciano d’Abruzzo red that is to be found on supermarket shelves all over the world. This is a shame because there are some fine wines being produced by artisan winemakers in this region.
To the north, around the area of Controguerra, dedicated winemakers are producing fine white wines using Pecorino and Passerina grapes. The Montepulciano grape demonstrates its versatility when it is used to produce the bright pink, light, and fresh Cerasuolo as well as the rich, dark, fulsome Colline Teramane, the region’s only DOCG wine. Add to this the contribution made by the Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOC and the picture suddenly becomes far more interesting for the dedicated oenophile who is prepared to go a little off the beaten track. In fact, there are some fascinating tales to tell and, to find them, spend some time reading about the vineyards and cantinas that we have found in Abruzzo as well as some great seafood restaurants and an amazing coastline.