Thursday, June 21, 2018

A Tour with a Dinner Tasting at Emidio Pepe

We wrapped up our tour of wineries in the Teramo province with a tour and a dinner tasting at Emidio Pepe. Grandaughter Chiara Pepe shared the family's history and their winemaking philosophy as she strolled us around the house, the winery and the vineyards.

Her grandfather, Emidio Pepe, was an artisanal winemaker from his start in the 1964. He wanted to make high quality, small production wine that told something truthful and showcased the year. He planted local grapes and used pergola training to preserve the naturally high tannins and acidity levels and to ensure polyphenolic ripening from the inside. Their style of winemaking at Emidio Pepe is to make soft, more delicate wines that can age well. Nothing has changed since her grandfather started the winery,
Chiara explained, though they did become certified organic in 1998 and biodynamic in 2006.

As Chiara showed the concrete tanks that Emidio Pepe prefers as he feels they help to achieve a more elegant style while also ensuring that his hard work in the vineyard is not changed in the cellar, Emidio Pepe himself, aka Mr. Montepulciano, joined us. As they described the production process, Chiara said that de-stemming by hand was the second most important step in making a quality wine. The first was a spontaneous fermentation from indigenous yeast, "You can't have a wine that talks about a place without natural yeast," she stated.

The family grows organic wheat on the property to make pasta and bread as well as growing other fresh produce. Eliminating modified foods from their diet was important to achieving the quality of life they prefer for their family. Guests that stay in one of the property's guest apartments can reap the rewards of the family's organic lifestyle, as well.

The tasting:

Emidio Pepe Trebbiano 2014 - Fresh, dry and fruity with grapefruit, nectarine, and a mineral-laced finish.

Emidio Pepe Trebbiano 2013 - Also, fresh, dry and fruity with grapefruit, nectarine, and a mineral-laced finish.

Emidio Pepe Trebbiano 2004 - Fresh, dry and citrusy with a touch of honey over the mineral-laced finish.

Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2010 - Fruity with plum and raspberry, with a soft, rounded velvety feel, generous and complex with a persistent finish.

Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2001 - Great balance between
elegance and power, still bold but showing some signs of maturity. The weather was similar to 2010. Velvety tannins, good acidity with juicy plum and leather notes in the lengthy finish.

Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 1983 - Emidio Pepe said this wine was originally too big, too powerful and too dark. He waited several extra years before releasing it and now describes it after its evolution as a sheer, elegant wine with a long and persistent finish. I found aromas and flavors of dried fruit with earth, leather, and a savory cured meat note in the lingering finish. Complex and interesting and very enjoyable now.

All of these wines are highly recommended.