Estate: Iconic. Singular. Extraordinary. Artisan. Pioneering. Rare. Just some of the words commonly used to describe the wines and winemaking traditions of Emidio Pepe. The Pepe family has been making wine since the 19th century between the mountains and the Adriatic Sea in northern Teramo in Abruzzo.
Taking over the family estate in 1964, Emidio Pepe started his long journey of innovation and transformation of the perception of Abruzzo wines. Dedicated to the native grapes of the region; Montepulciano, Trebbiano and Pecorino, along with traditional and biodynamic practices, Emidio revolutionized Abruzzo wines. Since 1997, the legendary estate has been headed by his daughters Daniela and Sofia, with Daniela’s daughter Chiara de Iulis Pepe joining as the 5th generation.
I had the phenomenal opportunity to be seated next to Daniela at a wine dinner in Abruzzo; I cannot express enough about her grace, hospitality and knowledge she shared with me. For a closer look at the seminal family, including their innovative cellar library and hand decanting practices, check out their site here.
Winemaking: Vines are on hillsides in clay soils over solid limestone. Hand harvested grapes are foot pressed, spontaneous fermentation with wild yeasts without the skins in glass lined cement tanks. Unfined and unfiltered. [2018 was a hot year, resulting in wine not falling within the rules of the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC. Rather than change the wine, the sisters used the more flexible Colli Aprutini IGT designation.]
Tasting Notes: Dark garnet brick in colour, with aromas of cherry, rose petal, plum, dark chocolate. Silky layers of cherry, violet, red currant, blackberry and flinty/saline minerality are flanked by sleek Ceylon tea tannins and fresh acidity. Red currant, blueberry, dark chocolate and a whisper of clove linger on the lush finish. Radiant, elegant, sumptuous.
Colli Aprutini IGT
Estate Bottled by Azienda Agricola Emidio Pepe
€20 [purchased in Italy]