ABRUZZO - ITALY
The story of Tiberio rings more like a new world tale than one from the old world of the ancient lands beneath the Majella and Gran Sasso mountains in Abruzzo. At 350 meters, twenty three miles inland from the seaside city of Pescara near the hillside town of Cugnoli, Riccardo Tiberio found an old plot of Trebbiano Abruzzese vines roughly 60 years old so impressive that he decided to change his and his family’s destiny. He knew that Trebbiano Abruzzese vines were a rarity and not at all to be confused with Trebbiano Toscano and other similar-looking but altogether different varieties that had been mistakenly planted instead. As the export manager for a well known cantina in the region, Riccardo knew well what Abruzzo grapes could offer and what the modern world expected.
He made the plunge in 2000, purchasing the 8 hectare old vine plot of Trebbiano Abruzzese with 31 hectares of land suitable for his single estate wines. Guided by decades of personal experience and one of Italy’s most renowned nurseries, Riccardo planted a selection of indigenous varieties matched to the different soil characteristics in the vineyard. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Trebbiano Abruzzese, and Pecorino were planted. When Tiberio released its first vintage in 2004 the wine cognoscenti took notice of Tiberio’s mineral whites and fruit forward reds.
In 2008, Riccardo Tiberio handed over the reins of the winery to his highly experienced children, daughter Cristiana and son Antonio. The role of viticulturist goes to Antonio while Cristiana handles the winemaking duties. Cristiana is a chemistry graduate and teaches college level winemaking chemistry and sommelier classes. She has an impressive list of training stints including Jacques Selosse in Champagne, Nicolas Joly at Coulee de Serrant, Egon Muller in the Mosel, and various producers in Chablis. In 2011 she took over all the winemaking duties and is now solely responsible for the wines made at the estate. You can assume from her resume that structure and minerality are key to her style.
Tiberio Trebbiano Abruzzese ‘Fonte Canale’ 2015
95+ points, Ian D’Agata, Vinous -“Very pale luminous yellow. A precise, vibrant and scented nose combines lemon, tangerine, ginger, botanical herbs and lemon verbena, with noteworthy flintiness in the background. Offers a compelling scenario of rare precision, energy and size, displaying great lift and a penetrating quality to the focused flavours of lemon, lime, and crushed stones. A laser beam of lemony acidity carries through on the rising, piercing finish, which features outstanding clarity and cut, with repeating notes of lime and tangerine. This is the best Fonte Canale ever made; it’s also one of the best Italian white wines I have tasted in the last few years.”
Tiberio Pecorino 2015
93 points, Ian D’Agata, Vinous -“Pale bright straw-green. High-pitched aromas of cantaloupe and hazelnut complement sage, rosemary and green fig. Bright and juicy in the mouth, with a strong impression of extract enlivening the flavours of orange zest, botanical herbs and fresh fruit salad. This is the best Pecorino wine ever made by Tiberio, and it’s also the best, most varietally accurate Pecorino wine of the year.”
Tiberio Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ‘Colle Vota’ 2014
94+ points, Ian D’Agata, Vinous -“Bright red. Highly aromatic nose offers scents of red cherry, cinnamon, potpourri and violet, complicated by a whiff of blood orange and nutmeg. Wonderfully suave and fine-grained on entry, with a compelling sweetness perfectly countered by a savoury character, firm minerality and a building, tannic spine. Bright, pure and focused, harmonious acidity neatly extends the spicy red fruit and floral flavours on the long back end. Quite unlike any other Montepulciano d’Abruzzo I’ve ever tasted, beginning with its relatively light, bright red colour; Colle Vota actually has more in common with a red Burgundy Grand Cru or high end Barbaresco than with a Montepulciano wine.”