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Andy's Journal Entry #3

Wednesday, 05 June 2024 08:22 Abruzzo...

    The drive from Puglia to Abruzzo was lovely. It was incredible to watch the landscape change as we headed North. The flat, yellow/brown landscape gave way to lush, green hills with the Adriatic Sea set dramatically out the right side of our bus.
       We journeyed to the seaside town of Pescara, where La Valentina is located. To say the vineyard was different from Li Veli’s is an understatement. La Valentina is set atop a hill with a grand view of Abruzzo’s mountains, hills and valleys. The landscape was gorgeous and green and seemed completely covered by grapevines, the mountains in the background were topped with snow. Abruzzo has some decent skiing, apparently.
       La Valentina does not produce your usual Trebbiano and Montepulciano D’Abruzzo. Sabatino, the owner, told us that he wants his wines to be of exceptional quality and unique! His wines were certainly far from the usual plonk I often expect from this area, they were lovely, powerful wines that reminded me of the wines from the Northern Rhone Valley. The Trebbianos he makes were crisp and mineral driven, with a white peach fragrance that reminded me of good Viognier. The Montepulcianos, were deeply pigmented and tannic. 
      He showed us a few very expensive Montepulcianos which aren’t imported into the US yet, that were extremely tannic and powerful, reminding me of good, Northern Rhone Syrah. One, a 2017 vintage, pulled the moisture out of my mouth and tugged at my teeth. It was as unforgiving as a young Cote Rotie, but I could tell it would be a showstopper in another 10 years or so. My suspicions were confirmed at dinner a few hours later when they opened up a 2009 vintage of the same wine, it showed layers of dried black cherry, tobacco and a slight smokiness reminiscent of bacon fat.
        Overall, the wines here were not inexpensive, but they showed me the potential that fine wines from Abruzzo can have.
      After a little sleep and a quick walk to the Adriatic, we set off to Marche to see one of my favorite wineries, Garofoli. I have excitedly sold these wines for more than a decade and I have been so excited to see this vineyard. I’m so excited to see what adventures await me there.

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