In recent weeks, we have focused the bulk of our articles on more general examinations of some of the wines to come out of Italy. In fact, you’ll have noticed that we wrote about the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo only a matter of days ago. Dig a little further back and you’ll see we’ve written more general overviews of a variety of other wines over the last few weeks.
Today, we think we’re going to dig back into specifics with another review of a great vintage that we think everybody should try. And, seeing as we’ve written about the wine already this week, we figured that we may as well examine a wonderful Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.
That, of course, raised the question of which producer should we choose. It wasn’t an easy one. Montepulciano is one of the most widely produced Italian wines, which mean there are many producers who craft excellent examples of it.
But, after much though and consideration, we’ve settled on a producer and a wine that we think you’ll all enjoy. Without any further ado, here’s the story of the Emidio Pepe wine producer, alongside a review of one of their best wines.
It all starts with the man who gave the company its name. Emidio Pepe was born in the 1930s, but it was not until he was over 30 years of age himself that he decided that he would like to create a wine company.
This was no flight of fancy though. In fact, the Pepe family already had a rich, albeit little-known, history with wine. Both Emidio’s grandfather and father had made wines themselves. While they never decided to create a company to sell these wines, they happily made them at Pepe’s home. As a result, the young Emidio was immersed into Italian wine culture from an early age. This likely planted the seeds for what would become his biggest venture.
Emidio founded his company in 1964. A local boy at heart, he had a simple desire for his new venture. He wanted people to recognise the potential and quality of the native grapes that he had grown up enjoying. In particular, he wanted to make wines using the Trebbiano and Montepulciano varieties that would dispel any of the negative thoughts that some may have had about them. His end goal was to bring these grapes to a worldwide audience, helping them to sit alongside some of Italy’s more famous grapes in the process.
A stubborn man, Emidio knew that he had his work cut out for him. A man of very few words, he was instead a keen observer who took in a lot of what he saw during his childhood. He would use these observations to guide him through the course of creating a new business while sticking to the values that he had established for his company.
It’s no surprise that a man so dedicated to his craft would manage to achieve the level of success that he has. Emidio Pepe is now one of the leading lights of the Italian wine industry when it comes to the Montepulciano grape. Moreover, Emidio continues to dedicate himself to the grape, even as he advances in years. Now nearing his 90th year, Emidio can still be found tending to his vineyards, where he often prunes and helps with the harvest.
This dedication has given him something of a sixth sense when it comes to his grapes. This keen observer can read the many signals that nature sends to him, allowing him to work out what’s best for his grapes in the process.
This natural calling has also influenced the wines that his company produces. Long before the notion of an organic wine had entered the lexicon, Emidio was keen to dispel any chemical elements from his products. He believed that his wines should offer a true reflection of the terroir, which you cannot achieve when using man-made chemicals to alter the composition of the grape. Today, as they always have been, the Emidio Pepe wines are as true a reflection of the region as any that you will find.
Emidio is also a family man and, much like many of the other great wine producers, he is keen to pass on his gifts and his company to his family. Having created 50 vintages of his own, Emidio has also worked hard to bring his family into the fold. Moreover, he has instilled the values of hard work into his family, which means he will eventually leave his company in safe hands.
Emidio Pepe is a true success story in the history of Italian wines. He is a man who had a vision that he worked tirelessly to achieve. Even today, he enjoys the fruits of his labours while continuing to work to ensure his company maintains its reputation.
So, what qualities do the wines that come from Emidio Pepe have? That’s a question we’ll answer with this short review of one of the best vintages to emerge from the company in recent years.
Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2014
The Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2014 is one of the most recognised wines to emerge from the company and we believe it’s one of the best examples of the wine available.
Pour a glass and you will see why. Aged for only two years, the wine still has a stunning dark ruby colouring that you would normally expect to see in wines that spend much longer in the barrel.
Bring it to the nose and you’ll discover several interesting notes. The company’s dedication to organic production methods gives the wine a mineral undertone that’s truly reflective of the land that it comes from. However, you’ll also notice some string cherry notes that suggest that this is a wine that’s accessible enough for those who don’t often drink red wine to enjoy.
As for the taste, we do make one recommendation. Allow the wine to sit in the glass for a couple of minutes before sipping. This will release some of the compact flavours that you may otherwise have missed. Given some time to breathe, the wine offers beautiful flavours and an interesting energy. The finish is persistent and leaves a beautiful taste behind.