Marina Cvetic Masciarelli's passion for wine resonates beyond Italy's Abruzzo region

ab44c-MarinaCvetic_montepulciano[1]THANKS TO GROWERS like Marina Cvetic Masciarelli of Masciarelli Tenute Agricole, high-quality wines emphasizing local grape varieties are elevating the wine industry in Italy’s southeast region of Abruzzo.

Though this region east of Rome and bordered by the Apennines and the beaches of the Adriatic Sea is known for bulk wines sold for blending, it also boasts a growing number of vintners making stylish wines getting critical acclaim in international markets. It was Marina’s late husband Gianni who pioneered premium winemaking here beginning in 1978.

Marina Cvetic Masciarelli took full control of Masciarelli Tenute Agricole in 2008 following his death and continues Gianni’s and her original focus: wines that reflect the culture and cuisine and traditions of the region — Montepulciano d’Abruzzo for reds, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo for whites.

The most prestigious wine is Marina Cvetic Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC San Martino Rosso, which is part of the “Marina Cvetic” line Gianni created to honor her.  Last year, the 2010 vintage of this wine was No. 85 on Wine Spectator’s top 100 wines for 2014.

Marina Cvetic Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC San Martino Rosse 2010, $27.99: Fermented in stainless steel and aged in French oak, this red has bright aromas of blackberry, chocolate, rose petal and vanilla. In the mouth, dry dusty tannins and a spine of acidity embrace the delicate dark berry notes and floral tones. Montepulciano is a grape variety and should not be confused with the famous Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which is made from Sangiovese in Tuscany.

Villa Gemma Bianco Colline Teatine IGT 2014, $14.99: Villa Gemma is one of Masciarelli’s four lines of wine. This summer-perfect dry white is based on Trebbiano filled out with a local grape variety, Cococciola, and Chardonnay. It’s dry with lots of personality and sees no oak. Aromas of melon, citrus, pineapple, apricot and banana are enticing. Flavors are floral and citrus, with some green apple and a subtle honeyed note on the midpalate. It has a nice spine of acidity for balance and the finish is dry.

You can reach Sandra Silfven at ssilfven@Hotmail.com.