The Montepulciano d'Abruzzo of Emidio Pepe
at Joe & Magda's, NYC (6/1/2012)

Azienda Agricola Emidio Pepe is a historic winery in the town of Torano Nuovo in the province of Teramo in the region of Abruzzo. The winery is located about 15 km from the Adriatic Sea on the east coast of Italy. It produces three wines: a white from the Trebbiano d'Abruzzo grape, and a rose (Cerasuolo) and a red from the Montepulciano grape. This tasting focused on 12 vintages of the red Montepulciano d'Abruzzo from 1974 to 2007.
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The winery was founded by the first Emidio Pepe in 1899. His son, Giuseppe, then ran the winery. Then in 1964, the current Emidio Pepe began running the winery. Soon joined by his wife Rosa. Today his daughters Daniela and Sofia have joined him in the business.

This was a rare opportunity to try a fairly full vertical this traditional and naturally made wine. The U.S. importer, Polaner Selections says the grapes are grown biodynamically, hand-harvested, hand-destemmed, naturally fermented and aged 18-24 months in glass-lined tanks. The wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered, without added SO2, and aged in their cellar, in bottle, for continued development. Before release, the wines are decanted by hand into new bottles, and then labeled.

Or as stated rather poetically on the winery website:

Picked by hand,
Pressed by young ladies' feet,
The grapes become must,
And the must becomes wine,
And it seems that nature does it all.

This dinner turned out to be a glorious event, but with one sad note in that it was initiated by Steve H who provided about half the bottles, but was not well enough to participate due to a nasty cold.

All Pepe reds double decanted around 5 pm. Dinner started at close to 9pm and ended close to midnight.

Joe's wife Magda is a professional chef of the first order. She prepared this glorious meal made almost entirely of traditional dishes from Abruzzo, which were well-matched to the wines. Visit her Cooking School cucinettaNYC. Some of the food photos below are by Magda.


Starter: One White Trebbiano d'Abruzzo
With Prosciutto, Spicy Sopressata, Homemade Ricotta Crostini with Roast Peppers, Pizza Bianca and Bresaola.
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Flight 1: 1970s
With Pasta with Red Pepper and Lamb Ragu.
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Flight 2: 1980s
With Double Rib Lamb Chop with Salsa Verde and Chicory with Puntarelle Dressing.
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Flight 3: Late 1990s - Early 2000s
With Agnello Cacio e Uova con Scarola (Lamb with Cheese and Eggs [a traditional Easter dish] with Escarole)
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Flight 4: Later 2000s and an Aldo Conterno
With Pecorino Cheeses from Abruzzo.
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Dessert
Almond cake.
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Summary

I suspect these wines may not be for everyone, but if you love traditionally made big reds of character like Paolo Bea Sagrantino, Vallana Spanna, or G. Rinaldi Barolo, you will probably love these. I loved them and wish I had a lot more of them in my cellar.

Notes posted from CellarTracker.



People Pix


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Magda in her kitchen preparing our fabulous dinner.

Joe and Steve. Steve unfortunately the worse for wear due to a cold.

Tom, Josh, and Joe share a laugh.

Joe and Liz.

 

 

 


All original content © Ken Vastola