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 Pecorino 2015
93+ points, Ian D’Agata, Vinous - “Pale yellow. Vibrant aromas of lime, lemongrass and minerals, plus a subtle floral quality, without the herbal qualities of most modern, very Sauvignon Blanc–like Pecorino wines and displaying a steely, focused character. Taut citrus and green apple flavors carry no excess weight and are complicated by a subtle anise quality on the long, bright finish. Tiberio’s is a true benchmark Pecorino wine, but this happens to also be either the best or one of the best Pecorinos they’ve made in years.”
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 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2015
92 points, Ian D’Agata, Vinous - “Good full ruby. Super-ripe aromas of red cherry, raspberry jelly, quinine and sweet spices with flinty notes emerging slowly with aeration. Bright and intense, with spicy red plum and luscious cherry-pie flavors nicely framed by lively acidity; 2015 was a warm year, but this wine stays fresh and dances nimbly on the palate. Finishes long with a fleshy mouthfeel, youthful chewy tannins and insidious sweetness (14% alcohol). This lovely entry-level Montepulciano d’Abruzzo offers a lot of wine for the money.”
Tiberio Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ‘Colle Vota’ 2014
95 points, Ian D’Agata, Vinous - “Sweet roses, violets and white pepper open first, before blossoming further to show ripe strawberries, mixing sage with mint and finally spiced orange. The purity of the 2014 is unreal, contrasting an attractive inner sweetness with zesty red fruits, minerals and bright acids, and yet remaining remarkably lifted and feminine, taking on a decidedly floral character toward the close. There's still youthful tannin, yet it’s nearly masked by the Colle Vota's fruity and almost-exotic nature. Is it Montepulciano or Grand Cru Burgundy - or maybe Château Rayas? Licorice, ginger, clove, and a bitter tug of citrus are all found as this gorgeous wine slowly tapers off. The 2014 is already so enjoyable, yet I’ll be checking back in on this beauty in another two years and expect great things. Only 2,800 bottles of the 2014 were made. The next vintage to be released will be the 2018 in the winter of 2021.”