2020 Cirelli Trebbiano
Region: Abruzzo < Italy
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic farming; fermented with skins for 20 days then aged 18 months in anfora; bottled unfined/unfiltered with <20ppm SO2; 13% ABV
Winemaker: Francesco Cirelli
We had the pleasure of visiting Francesco at his certified-organic farm near the coast in Abruzzo. His vineyards are pristine and full of biodiversity, and his passion for the land, and for bringing more attention to the little-known region of Abruzzo, is inspiring, Francesco would stand out as rising star in any of Italy’s big famous regions, but in the decidedly non-shiny region of Abruzzo, better known for recent geological disasters (earthquakes, avalanche) than wine, his aura is almost blinding. Here is a farmer and winemaker who worked high-profile jobs in several of France and Italy’s famous cellars and could’ve rooted his own project anywhere, but chose to return to Abruzzo, his homeland, in 2003, buying a small estate just 8 km from the sea. And he’s been challenging conventions and pushing the boundaries since he landed. His organically-farmed estate includes not only vineyards but olive trees, garlic, spelt, wheat, barley, figs and animals galore – a complete ecosystem. In the cellar, he’s experimenting with amphora (of his own design, with special stainless steel seals on the top of them that assist in preventing oxidation), adds nothing but tiny SO2 at bottling and basically lets his wines evolve as they wish. He trying to make authentic wine, not important wine – wine that is “a magic potion for joy and communion”, in his words.
Francesco is best known for, and very proud of, his anfora-aged wines, which show the true potential of wines from Abruzzo. But even his entry-level estate wines are excellent and full of regional character, like this Trebbiano that tastes like no Trebbiano I've had before. Bright, lively, high in acid, my first impression of the wine was pickle juice. Seriously. And I loved it. The pickle thing faded into sage-citrus notes, with that lovely acid cleaning the palate with every sip. Super easy and versatile, for whatever you're cooking - or better yet, while you're cooking...