Saturday, June 30, 2018

Tasting Tenuta Ulisse

Our final winery visit on the Abruzzo wine tour was at Tenuta Ulisse which is located in Crecchio in the Chieti province.

This winery was started by the Ulisse family in 2007 with a goal to become a leader in the region. It is run by brothers Antonio and Luigi. They had a production of 40,000 bottles their first vintage, despite a difficult market, they have continued to grow and ten years later, they are producing just over a million bottles a year. They only use their own grapes so their vineyard holdings have grown as well. They sell half of their production in Italy with the rest sold on the export market in 40
different countries.

The family firmly believes in the winemaking traditions of the region, almost 90% of their grapes are pergola trained. They believe the classic training technique works best with the region's terroir in giving them the greatest flexibility in creating shade or allowing more sun to reach the grapes as needed.

The winery is state of the art. They press in an oxygen free environment. They use cryoselection or cryoextraction to determine the most sugar rich grapes. Fermentation is low and slow. They chose a restrained approach to using oak barrels as they prefer to showcase their fruit and their labor in the vineyard.

The Tasting

Trebbiano 2017 - The grapes for this wine come from a sandier area of the vineyard. Fresh, grassy, grapefruit citrus flavors with good acidity.

Passerina 2017 - They made their first vintage of this in 2012. It is
also grown on sandier soils closer to the sea. Fruity with white peach and chamomile with fresh acidity.

Cococciola 2017 - Elegant, delicate, light floral notes with citrus aromas and flavors of lime and grapefruit with a light mineral finish.

Pecorino 2017 - This is their main white wine. Tropical aromas with mango and citrus, fresh mineral note with a hint of balsamic on the finish.

Cerasuolo 2017 - Nice texture with raspberry aromas and flavors with fresh acidity and light tannins.

Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2016 - Fruit forward with cherry and raspberry, no oak. Soft tannins, easy and smooth.

Amaranta Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2015 - Sourced from a 55 year old vineyard, this wine had aromas and flavors of ripe dark plums and berries, a floral note of violet with a touch of vanilla, it was full bodied with smooth ripe tannins and had a persistent finish.

10 Vendemmie Limited Edition - Multi-vintage red wine combining 10 years of Montepulciano which is aged in French oak. Dark, rich and intense yet soft, round and approachable.

Nativae Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2015 - Sweet blackberry aromas and flavors with smoke and graphite, velvety tannins, nicely balanced with a smooth, lingering light mineral finish. My favorite of this tasting.
Head winemaker, Luigi Ulisse

After enjoying the prior red wine so much, they opened the following unplanned white for us to try before we left. Both of these wines are fermented with wild, native yeast.

Nativae Pecorino 2016 - Fresh, crisp and fruity with a mineral laced finish.

All of these wines are recommended.