Amorotti for All Seasons
We’re always skeptical when importers talk about new producers with lavish comparisons to the greats that are nearby. We hear hyperbole like “this is the next Conterno,” or “it tastes just like Raveneau,” all the time.
But sometimes--almost never--they are right on.
This was the case when we were introduced to the beautiful wines of Amorotti.
Typically, when we talk Italian wines, let’s face it: most of us are thinking of the wines of Tuscany or Piedmont. Ok, maybe there’s a smattering of Sicily or Friuli, but other regions?
Far too often their wines from anywhere else seem like things to “try” rather than to treasure.
This is nonsense, of course, and today we will zoom into the region of Abruzzo, on Italy’s east coast, to find treasure in the form of delicious wine from a producer called Amorotti.
First, let’s get one thing out of the way. This is definitely what most of you are going to remember about these wines and it has to be said, but we don’t this to be the focus of the article: Amorotti is a friend and next-door neighbor of the great Valentini.
So, when Gaetano, the winemaker, decided it was time to use the resources of his farm to make and bottle his own wine it was Valentini who helped with clonal selections in the vineyards, barrel selections for the cellar and so on.
But, the point we want to focus on is larger than just Valentini: this is an area of Italy where they are really producing profound wines. Like Piedmont and Tucan level profound.
They are using Montepulciano d’Abbruzzo for the reds (and rosés, called locally “Cerasuolo”) and Trebbiano d’Abruzzo for whites. Interestingly, these grapes are somewhat commonplace in many parts of Italy, even to the point that factories are able to churn through the grape to supply supermarkets.
Yet in this tiny corner of Abbruzzo, there is an important artisanal movement bringing both grapes to previously unimaginable heights.
Some now even consider Trebbiano to be the greatest white wine of Italy! (Montepulciano is great too but it has tougher competition…)
Amorotti is very much at the forefront of this movement. Its work couldn’t be any more different than those factories’. The winery occupies an ancient labyrinthine cellar below a medieval town. All the work is biodynamic and natural. The wines are raised in wood barrels. Fermentations are spontaneous, and they don’t even employ temperature control
Those who know us well hopefully know that we don’t think calling a wine “natural” automatically makes it better. In fact, in many cases it just puts us on our toes. But the wines of Amorotti are pristine, elegant and definitely natural. They are easily among the very best in Abruzzo, and Gaetano is just getting started!
The results really have a profundity that is quite surprising for their price points. And They are less than a third of the price of Valentine or the other standard bearer, Emidio Pepe.
You should definitely try these wines.
The red is silky, bright and layered with spice. The white has depth, stonefruit and crushed herbs.