Pecorino cheese is well known but what about the grape? It is an uncommon variety that was brought back from the brink of extinction thanks to some dedicated farmers in the Marche and Abruzzo regions. The Terre di Chieti is a terrific example of the varietal. It has a light straw yellow color with green highlights and sports a rich fruity aroma with citrus and tropical nuances--white peach, mango, apricot and nectarine. You might even pick up hints of sage, wild flowers, green olives and almonds. The nose is wonderfully rich, and I love the voluptuous texture and length of its full body, not to mention the excellent structure and beautifully balanced minerals on the finish. In love yet?
White peach, mango, apricot, citrus, apple, pear, lime leaf, white flowers and almonds.
Cantina Tollo is a very successful co-operative that has grown from 19 producers a half century ago to hundreds today. As a group, they've worked together to raise the general awareness of Abruzzo wines while adhering to the region's ancient traditions of winemaking. Founded in 1914, Terre di Chieti has 55 acres of hillside vineyards near Gran Sasso, Italy's highest peak. There, the sunny and warm climate mixed with breezes from the Adriatic Sea help to optimize the grapes' aromatics and keep acidity high.
Pecorino is often characterized by citrus aromatics with a bit of flinty minerality, and the Tollo is a good example. The varietal pairs particularly well with virtually any Italian-influenced recipe that features seafood. I'd suggest a pan-roasted fish with lemon, capers and olives or my Linguine with Clams and Bagna Cauda Butter. I love how the briny flavor from the clams works alongside the wine's lemony and mineral flavors. For a quick starter or savory dessert, pair this wine with mild, semi-soft sheep's milk cheeses (such as Pecorino!) accompanied by rustic bread; it's also fantastic with fresh mozzarella.
"Each bottle does not contain only wine, but thousands upon thousands of caresses, changing moods and frames of mind, the passing of the seasons, a year's work and the patient wait for the final outcome"-- Cantina Tollo.
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