“In the cellar you don’t have to do anything if you worked properly in the vineyards”

“In the cellar you don’t have to do anything if you worked properly in the vineyards”

Montetino -Benedetta Nicomede & Marco Carone

Jan 30, 2023

When we talk about some of the most well known producers in Abruzzo (Valentini and Emidio PePe) - we are pretty much speaking about coastal vineyards. These terroirs change drastically and rather quickly moving into Monte tino, reaching 6,000 + feet above sea level. This is where Benedetta and Marco drew the name from for Montentino. The vineyards here are very unique and most of them very ancient. Intriguing given how the climate is changing in Abruzzo. When the idea came to start their own label, one thing was for sure - it would be in the mountains.

Benedetta didn’t have your average path to winemaking. She isn’t a second or third generation winemaker or grew up with winemakers. However a close friend recently told me: “No one asks if Picasso’s father was also an excellent artist.” Bendetta went to school originally for medicine and quickly knew she wanted to pursue something closer to nature. Later gaining her masters in Oenology and Viticulture. Benedetta knew she wanted to spend time in the vineyards, she started working at  a winery in Tuscany, which was rather conventional. This experience is what pushed her towards her viticultural practices today - essentially doing the exact opposite of what she was taught there. She quickly moved to a smaller biodynamic winery where she felt that her interpretation of winemaking fit right in. New Zealand’s Villa Maria was her next stop, a rather large winery focused on sustainability. She then moved on to a boutique winery in Oregon.

Though appreciative of the experiences, she felt the urge to return back to Italy to work with Ariana at Occhipinti. Her father passing brought her home to Abruzzo. Where she continued to pursue working alongside the region’s best. Benedetta joined Chiara at Emidio PePe. Her father was an inspiration for her. He was one of the first sommeliers in Abruzzo. Bendetta’s mother also took a liking to the world of wine, and pursued becoming a Sommelier when Benedetta returned home. Contrary to what we said in the beginning, she does come from a wine focused family.

Marco has a different background; he currently and previously has experience in brewing beer and is currently the brewer at Biere de Borgo. His passion for wine and viticulture drew him to work various vintages at his friends' wineries. He has extensively traveled in pursuit of experiencing wine culture.These things combined, built his passion for viticulture and ultimately his decision to get involved with winemaking. He has brought many things to the winery; heightening the functionality of the cellar and a sharp and precise palate.

Viticulture and Vinification

The winery is at about 850m above sea level. 1.5ha of vineyards consisting of 5 different plots are spread throughout, consisting of Montepulcuiano, Trebbiano and Malvasia. 2022 was the first year for full biodynamic treatments as she wanted to ease into it and get to know the vineyards all together. All the vineyards consist of native plants and are rented from very old generational families in the area with most of the vines being planted in the 70s. There is an abundance of life, most of which is natural to the area and some of which she is encouraging the growth and cultivation of in the vineyards. Apple, Cherry. Fig, Almond, and Plum trees all naturally grow throughout; everything blooms on its own, supporting the natural cycle in the vineyard. They use an Arieggiatore for working the soil, as it gently allows air into the ground without any compaction. They believe in respecting the plant, and trying to make decisions based on that. There is as little pruning as possible, consisting of very small cuts and a maximum of two buds. The pruning is always done on a full or crescent moon, usually starting in February.

The Wines of Montetino

TREBBIANO

Usually Trebbiano is harvested between the last week of September and the first of October. Everything is hand-destemmed and about 5% of the fermentation consists of Malvasia that grows naturally in the vineyards. They push the extraction to get more contact with the skins for more texture and depth in the wine. The juice is put into concrete tanks and the skin goes into an ancient Torchio where they got pressed. This juice is then blended with the first press into tank for fermentation.The

wine is aged in concrete with a brief racking after fermentation and before bottling.

MONTEPULCIANO ROSE

The grapes are pressed whole bunch by foot, focusing on the extraction of color, the grapes are always kept around 10 degrees, which supports for a very slow, but good extraction.
Harvest happens in mid October. The grapes are pressed whole bunch by foot, focusing on the extraction of color, tannins and aromas. The grapes are always naturally kept around 10 degrees, which supports for very slow and gentle extraction. The fermentation happens in concrete. The wines are then racked once and transferred to concrete for one year of aging.

MONTEPULCIANO

The grapes are de-stemmed by hand, and whole-berry fermentation happens. They don't like to call this carbonic, because it is not full carbonic. The focus is on preserving a perfect skin quality, and fermentation starts on the inside and finishes on the outside. Montepulciano can be tricky to ferment if you don’t manage it correctly. It is very rich and the tannins can really take off. They dig out the tank before the end of ferment to avoid this and keep control and elegance in the wines. The wines are racked to remove sediment and put back into concrete to start malo. They are then aged in concrete until bottling.