Notes from Polaner Selections:
"Emidio Pepe is a singular producer creating amazingly complex age-worthy reds and whites in a region of mass produced, overly engineered versions of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. Though the family has been producing wines here since the end of the 19th Century, the winemaking process has remained philosophically unchanged since Emidio Pepe took over the estate in 1964. The business and wine production has been in the hands of the fourth generation of the Pepe family with sisters, Daniela and Sofia, since 1997. And more recently, the dynamic Chiara de Iulis Pepe has joined the estate as the fifth generation!
The Pepe vineyards are located in the northern province of Teramo, with soils rich in clay and limestone. In fact the top 40 centimeters of the soils is clay but underneath it is solid limestone. The Trebbiano is foot trodden in wooden tubs for two reasons: in order to avoid contact between the iron presses and the acids of the fruit and also for the textural complexity resulting in the subtle maceration that happens when the trodden skins release their characteristics in to the juice. The resulting white wines are slightly golden hued, well balanced and complex, with hints of nuts, hay, and yellow fruits. The Montepulciano bears little relation to most other wines of this appellation; they are big, bold, and filled with the intense flavors of dried black cherries, licorice and wild herbs.
The winemaking regime at Pepe follows an uber-natural and artisinal path. Grapes are grown biodynamically, hand-harvested, hand-destemmed, fermented with spontaneous yeast and aged 18-24 months in glass-lined cement tanks. The wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered and are aged in their cellar in bottles for continued development. Before release, the Montepulciano bottles that are 20 or more years old are decanted by hand into new bottles and labeled. An extensive stock of older vintages is kept at the cellar. The year of decantation is now listed on a strip around the neck of the bottle. Trebbiano and Pecorino are not, and have never been decanted."