Founded by Abruzzo native Gianni Masciarelli in 1981, Masciarelli and its wines have become the standard-bearer for the Abruzzo region, and an inspiration to all emerging Italian wine regions. After a summer in Champagne in his youth, Gianni Masciarelli returned home convinced that world-class wines could be produced in Abruzzo. Through tremendous vision and endless innovation, Masciarelli became one of the most admired wineries in Italy. Gianni firstly brought a strong focus on vineyard sites and management, not a typical point of focus at the time. Reducing yields, working sustainably, and bringing vineyard planting and management techniques new to the region, he greatly increased fruit quality. In the winery he broke the mold by gently and precisely and gently handling fruit, and introducing the high quality substance he had to extended aging, adding depth and complexity to his wines and resulting in better integration of tannin.
The innovation that Gianni and his wife, Marina Cvetic, brought to the vineyards and the winery has been rewarded with 29 Tre Bicchieri, the prestigious award of the most renowned wine guide in Italy, and recognition as a groundbreaking and iconic winery in Italy. Above all, Gianni Masciarelli brought attention to the extraordinary region of Abruzzo, where 30 miles separate snow-capped mountains from the sea. The rich, diverse and proud culture is reflected in the wines, which have fantastically singular and seductive characteristics.
The winery headquarters are in San Martino sulla Marrucina, in the province of Chieti, in the house that Gianni took over from his grandfather, and the cellar below where he vinified his first vintages. Though Gianni Masciarelli began with just five acres in Chieti, over the years the estate has grown to nearly 900 acres, though split into over 60 parcels that do not adjoin one another. The Masciarelli approach was to buy only top vineyards, regardless of location in Abruzzo. They are today the only producer in Abruzzo to own land in all 4 provinces of Abruzzo (Chieti, Pescara, Teramo and l’Aquila), and their production of wines is 100% estate.
Iskra is a complete outlier of the Marina Cvetic, and indeed the entire Masciarelli range, representing a single vineyard handled in a particular way to create a wine of extraordinary distinction and depth.
Trebbiano is the white grape that Gianni Masciarelli fought so hard to legitimize. In Abruzzo, the specific clone is different than the high yielding, sometimes simple version of the grape found elsewhere in Italy. On Abruzzo's soils, this variety of Trebbiano creates immensely expressive, a touch opulent, and age-wort wines.
Masicarelli Montepulciano d'Abruzzo is the benchmark for Montepulciano in Italy and the world. Pioneering winemaker Gianni Masciarelli, who put winemaking Abruzzo on the map, elevated the wines from his native region to new heights, and his Montepulciano d'Abruzzo is a tribute to his home as well as a perfect introduction to the grape and to Abruzzo. This wine shows how, when handled with care, the late ripening Montepulciano grape produces refined wines of soft acidity, ripe and moderate tannins, and bright red berry and cherry notes with a distinct, spicy character.
Colline Teatine Rosato
Abruzzo and the Montepulciano grape are famous for making arguably the finest rose in Italy, from one of the only appellations in Italy dedicated completely to rose; Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo. This Rosato is the little sister - a fresh and totally delightful expression.
The Trebbiano Riserva Marina Cvetic represents the ultimate expression for the estate of one of the historical vines of Abruzzo. Like Montepulciano, Trebbiano was once thought to be a workhorse grape without the potential to produce great wine. The interpretation of this wine is original and has a character. Marina Cvetic wines have full body and are elegant and are a “lone voice” for the most demanding and technical experts.
Gianni Masciarelli one day suprised his wife by presenting her with this wine, from the grape he made famous from the region, named after her. Croatian in origin, her first reaction was that no one would be able to pronounce the wine. Because of the outstanding sites used to produce the wine and the serious winemaking care it undergoes, Marina Cvetic Montepulciano d'Abruzzo soon became the most widespread example of serious Montepluciano in the world.
Colline Teatine Bianco
While the Villa Gemma Montepulciano was the wine that announced Abruzzo to the world, the Bianco, created just a year later, further defined what the region and grapes of Abruzzo could produce. This wine, first released in 1985, speaks to the white grape varieties specific to the region and has become on of the most exciting wines produced at the estate.
Started in Gianni Masciarelli's grandfather's basement, Villa Gemma is the wine that announced Abruzzo to the world, showcasing what the region and grapes of Abruzzo could produce. Villa Gemma Montepulciano Riserva is the only Italian wine with 14 consecutive Tre Bicchieri awards and, more importantly, was the wine that established Abruzzo as capable of making truly distinct, extraordinary wines. Villa Gemma Montepulciano Riserva is a powerfully - almost undeniably - intense wine of character and complexity, with deep fruit and earthy, spicy secondary charachteristics that could only come from the Montepulciano grape in Abruzzo.
Perhaps the finest rosé production area in Italy, and one of the few appellations dedicated only to rosé, Cerasuolo has a long history of producing serious rosé, and showcasing how well the Montepulciano grape is adapted to rosé. Masciarelli first produced this wine in 1986, only 5 years after the winery was founded. With deep fruit and structure but no shortage of pleasure, it is a rosé you can take to the dinner table.
Miriam Lee Masciarelli