Between the Apennine Mountains and the Adriatic Sea, the vineyards of Abruzzo are in a real Goldilocks situation. Warm seaside breezes help temper the brisk mountain air to create conditions that are just right for grape production.
Most know the area for red wine production, namely Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. However, beyond that sea of red are some white wine gems that are worth the discovery. Trebbiano and Pecorino are two of the most widely planted white varieties that can be produced in a range of styles, from rich, textural and sometimes oaked to brisk and zesty pours.
Amorotti 2018 Trebbiano d’Abruzzo; $35, 93 points. Picture yourself running through a field of chamomile, with the warm summer sun beating down—that’s what this smells like. It’s heady, inviting and utterly comforting. The medium-bodied palate brings more to the mix, dazzling in flavors of juicy yellow plum and Meyer lemon peel. There’s a crunchy mineral vein throughout, but it gains in intensity on the finish alongside a lingering floral note. Jan D’Amore Wines. Editors’ Choice. —Alexander Peartree
Ciavolich 2018 Fosso Cancelli (Trebbiano d’Abruzzo); $33, 93 points. This rich Trebbiano sees time in both amphora and Slavonian oak, which add depth and earthiness to the tones of chamomile, hay, apricot and red apple peel on the nose. Sultry flavors of chamomile and honeycomb wax blend with ripe orchard-fruit flavors on the medium-bodied palate, with dried field flowers ringing on the close. For all its weight, there’s impeccable balance as well, making this an intoxicating sip to savor. Select Estates of Europe Ltd. Editors’ Choice. —A.P.
Emidio Pepe 2016 Pecorino (Colli Aprutini); $160, 93 points. This creamy yet balanced white offers dense tones of yellow apple, pear, jasmine and chamomile. The palate is like drinking pear-scented white tea, with a gently gripping texture wrapping around all the fruit and floral tones. It ends taut and lingers on a yellow-plum skin tone. Polaner Selection. —A.P.
Masciarelli 2018 Marina Cvetic Riserva (Trebbiano d’Abruzzo); $50, 93 points. Vibrant aromas of lemon zest and yellow apple peel are framed in accents of toast and honey on the nose. Fermented in barrel and aged for 12 months in new French oak, it is creamy, rounded and unctuous on the palate yet driven by tightly coiled citrus, apple and melon flavors all wrapped in a warm, toasty embrace. The energy and lift is substantial, with a brûléed lemon note lingering long on the finish. Enjoyable now, this would hold well through 2025. Vintus LLC. —A.P.
Valentini 2015 Trebbiano d’Abruzzo; $160, 93 points. This iconic Abruzzo bottling doesn’t disappoint, offering dense aromas of chamomile, lemon peel, melon rind and white plum on the nose. On the palate, this is all about the texture, which is like a memory foam pillow that both engulfs yet feels supportive. Honed flavors of rich melon, citrus and orchard fruit meld with chamomile and a gentle crushed stone element, yielding a wine that skirts the line between ripeness and tension. It ends taut and lifted, indicating that it will hold well a bit longer in the cellar. Drink through 2025 at least. Jan D’Amore Wines. —A.P.
Nicodemi 2018 Notàri Superiore (Trebbiano d’Abruzzo); $18, 92 points. From a hilltop site on the winery’s estate in the Teramo hills, this white offers defined aromas of yellow plum, lemon peel, chamomile and thyme. It holds richness and tension in equal measure, deftly balancing a waxy texture between flavors of ripe yellow fruit and taut citrus. The floral and herb notes linger long on the finish. Regal Wine Imports Inc. Editors’ Choice. —A.P.
Tenuta Terraviva 2019 ‘Ekwo Pecorino (Abruzzo); $24, 91 points. After some swirling in the glass, this opens up to reveal coiled aromas of lemon rind, melon, chamomile and crushed stone on the nose. There’s impeccable balance to the medium-bodied palate, where a gentle white-tea-like texture supports flavors of dried yellow flowers, cantaloupe and lemon. Vinea, Inc. —A.P.
Torre dei Beati 2019 Giocheremo con i Fiori Pecorino (Abruzzo); $24, 91 points. Gentle, rounded aromas of cantaloupe, lemon and a bevy of field flowers waft from the glass. The medium-bodied palate brings together juicy shots of citrus and melon against a mildly waxy texture. There’s ample presence and lift to it all, making this a delightful entry point to the Pecorino variety. Artisan Wines, Inc. —A.P.
Torre Zambra 2019 Piana Marina Organic (Trebbiano d’Abruzzo); $40, 91 points. The nose of this white is cohesive yet delicate, with a pretty chamomile aroma at the fore backed by lemon peel and yellow plum. The medium-bodied palate boasts a mix of ripe yellow fruit alongside a dusting of fennel pollen and field flowers. There’s impeccable balance to it all, with taut acidity riding firmly in the background. Tri-Vin Imports. —A.P.
Cantina Tollo 2020 Pecorino (Terre di Chieti); $25, 90 points. Zesty aromas of pomelo, lemon and melon meet a chamomile accent on the nose of this white. It’s rounded and ripe in feel on the medium-bodied palate, with coiled fruit flavors that show great lift and longevity. Enotec Imports, Inc. —A.P.
Il Feuduccio Di S. Maria D’Orni 2019 Pecorino (Colline Teatine); $21, 90 points. Bright aromas of lemon and melon rind blend with struck flint and dried chamomile on the nose. There’s a pleasing interplay of texture and tension on the medium-bodied palate, where a creamy melon flavor is held in check by an elongated citrus-laden backbone. Accents of crushed stone and flowers linger on the finish. Empson USA Ltd. —A.P.
Torre Raone 2019 Raone Pecorino (Colline Pescaresi); $20, 90 points. Ample intensity of citrus and mixed field flowers starts off this zesty Pecorino. The medium-bodied palate is studded with chamomile and lemon rind, with a perfumed quality echoing from start to finish. Skurnik Wines, Inc. —A.P.
Umani Ronchi 2019 Vellodoro Pecorino (Terre di Chieti); $17, 89 points. An explosion of creamed pear and pomelo blends with a hint of tropical fruit on the nose of this easy-to-like white. It’s full in feel, with a broad, oily texture that’s held in check by a gentle lemony zing. It ends creamy but quickly on the finish. Still, this is quite enjoyable for its fruit intensity, texture and immediate appeal. Vineyard Brands. —A.P.
Talamonti 2020 Trebì (Trebbiano d’Abruzzo); $13, 88 points. Delicate aromas of citrus, pome fruit and candied blossoms grace the nose of this light-bodied white. It’s zesty and brisk on the palate, with a hint of yellow plum rounding things out. This is an easy-to-sip Trebbiano at a value price. Panebianco. Best Buy. —A.P.