One doesn’t necessarily associate Abruzzo with sparkling wines, however different local wineries are producing them and some promise to be talked about a lot.
Sparkling wines from Abruzzo range considerably in style, from autochthonous Pecorino to international Pinot Nero, and from the Metodo Charmat through the Metodo Classico, meaning that there is a good choice of spumanti for a wide variety of occasions.
In 2014 the first Abruzzo DOC sparkling wine came to light after thirty-six long months of bubbling preparation: in fact 36 is its name to remind the span of time – set by the current oenological regulations – before a sparkling product can be labelled as spumante DOC.
36 Sparkling Wine is produced by Eredi Legonziano, an Abruzzese winery formerly named Cantina Madonna del Carmine, founded more than 40 years ago and nestled in the rolling hills of Lanciano. The company is part of Citra Consortium, the biggest of Abruzzo, and currently features 250 affiliated producers.
On a cold winter day, I met the agronomist, Nicola De Luca, who introduced me to the sacred world of bubbles. We entered the vinification room where, in religious silence, I was taught the difference between Metodo Charmat and Metodo Classico. Nicola proudly told me how Eredi Legonziano came to produce the first Abruzzese DOC sparkling wine:
“We have been attempting at it since 2004, we tried both Charmat and Classic methods and carefully observed what the outcomes were. We eventually focused on creating something special, a unique product that could express and enhance the true character of Abruzzo. The first bottling was made on November 15th, 2010 and we patiently waited 3 years before our baby was born. We are very proud to say that 36 Sparkling Wine is 100% made in Abruzzo!”
I asked him why the winery changed its former name into “Eredi Legonziano”, Nicola smiled and said:
“The winery was known as Cantina Madonna del Carmine, in 2009 we decided to find an alternative name to mark the new course the company was about to undertake. Our President came across the story of Longinus, the Roman centurion who pierced Jesus in his side with a lance and eventually repented at the foot of the cross. His real name was Legonziano and it is believed he came from Lanciano, one of the largest cities in the province of Chieti. He was Pontius Pilate’s right arm and was sent to Jerusalem to make sure that Jesus’ crucifixion was carried out as planned. After the conversion, he returned to Lanciano to cultivate vines and eventually was martyrized because of his faith. Our winery adopted the name Eredi Legonziano (Legonziano’s heirs) because our goal is to witness and spread the identity, history and culture of our territory as he did when choosing to change his life.”
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