The Masciarelli winemakers have fast built a reputation as one of the foremost purveyors of quality Italian red wine, with their variant of the Cabernet Sauvignon perhaps standing out as the crowning jewel of their wines.
It differs from many red wines from the country in that it is not a DOC regulated product. Instead it is given the IGT mark, which in this case should not stand as a mark against the quality of the drink. Instead, the wine is certainly one that is worth taking a risk on and it is currently one of the most popular Italian reds to come from the Abruzzo region.
The Abruzzo Region
Abruzzo, like many of the best Italian wine regions, is quite a hilly area of the country and is located more or less in the centre of the country, slightly east of the Adriatic coast. Research has demonstrated that winemaking has been an important facet of the region’s economy ever since the sixth century, as the Etruscans introduced their primitive viniculture to the area at around that point.
While the evidence for this winemaking is fairly clear, there is also some conjecture that the inhabitants of the region were actually growing grapes as far back as 400 B.C, with some historians claiming that the sweet wines developed in the region were presented to Hannibal when he was making his famous journey over the Alps mountain range.
This winemaking culture was not followed on as the region became part of Italy and it is only in recent years that wine has become an important factor in the region’s economy. In fact, the re-emergence of the industry has allowed the area to gain some level of economic clout, especially in the last half century or so.
The wines produced in the region are also gathering a certain level of popularity, with the likes of the UK, Germany and the USA importing many bottles. For a period this led to the region creating wines in bulk, without much of a focus on quality, however this trend has been somewhat reversed in recent years.
Much of the credit for this reversal in philosophy lays at the feet of Gianni Masciarelli, who has made it his life’s work to improve the quality of wine that comes from the region in addition to helping to make better use of the soil found there.
His efforts, alongside those of other winemakers, has allowed the region to become one of the most popular for winemaking in the entire country and more than 92,000 gallons are produced there every year. While some may be under the mistaken belief that this is simply a reversion beck to the period when the region was known for producing wine in bulk, there is a level of quality to many of the products that simply hasn’t been present in the past.
Most of the region’s vineyards are unsurprisingly found in the hilly regions, most prominently situated in the Chieti province.
While there are a number of grapes that are grown in the region, it is perhaps best known for its Cabernet Sauvignon. As any connoisseur will tell you, this particular grape is amongst the most famous red wine grapes in the world and has spread from its original territory in Bordeaux to become an important grape for many Italian wine producers.
Wines created using the grape tend to exhibit a few common characteristics, including a deep colouring that hints at the complexity of the wine in addition to various aromas including cedarwood, blackcurrant and spices.
It has also become an extremely popular grape to use in blending and many great Italian red wines make use of it. It’s most popular partners are perhaps Merlot and Cabernet Franc, though it is often used with a variety of sharper grapes in an effort to afford the wine a touch of softness and an extra layer of complexity.
All of this brings us back to the Masciarelli Cabernet Sauvignon Marina Cvetic, which is perhaps the best red wine from the region to make use of the grape and is certainly amongst the best wines produced by the Masciarelli family.
The drink is critically acclaimed in addition to being very popular. In fact, a number of wine critics rank the drink as being within the top five of all Colli Aprutini IGT wines, though opinions vary in regards to its placement amongst the elite. Regardless, what is consistent is that the majority of critics recognise that this is a high quality Italian red that is certainly worth enjoying regardless of the fact that it doesn’t sport a DOC label.
This quality is reflected in the price somewhat, as it is also amongst the more expensive of the Colli Aprutini IGT wines, though this price mark has been coming down somewhat in recent years. Despite this fact, the pricing is not at all restrictive and the wine is still fairly easy to acquire.
To put a rubber stamp on this overall seal of approval, the wine is also one of the most searched for from the region, with most statistics demonstrating that user searches for the vintage fall in the top five for all wines produced in the region, year on year. This again simply goes to show the level of quality that the Masciarelli family has brought to the region in addition to demonstrating that Abruzzo has managed to maintain its place amongst the more popular winemaking regions in Italy, despite the change in philosophy brought about by the family.
As Cabernet Sauvignon is found in so many different wines, it is also quite versatile when it comes to food pairings. The Masciarelli variant is best taken with a rich meal that includes red meat, so a good steak or a nice and succulent pork chop make perfect accompaniments. Because of this, the wine has become a standard feature at many a dinner party and its fast-growing international popularity is sure to continue.