Emidio Pepe 2001 “Torano Nuovo” Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Posted by Keith Wallace

Now and then, I come across a bottle that can only be described as an Al Pacino wine – you know, an experience that moves you to say “..hooo ahhh”, like the character he portrayed in “Scent of A Woman.” Which, by the way, was a remake of an early ’70s Italian movie, La Profumo di Donna.

This is such a wine, taking the Oro Nero (black gold) of northern Abruzzo’s Toranesi hills to new levels of expression and authenticity. How to describe this unique, old-school offering?

Exotic..bold..enigmatic..complex..yeasty..dense..unbending. Hmmm, sounds like the protagonist in the film. A wine that only faintly resembles others you’ve had from this varietal.

Pepe’s wine is literally handcrafted. Grapes are hand-harvested, hand destemmed, hand crushed, then naturally fermented without temperature control by indigenous yeasts. After spending at least two years in glass-lined tanks, it is bottled unfined and unfiltered for further aging in the wine cellar, never seeing a barrel. Some of Pepe’s wines stay in the cellar for up to thirty years. Every bottle is hand decanted into a fresh bottle and labeled, of course, by hand before release. Talk about a personal, labor-intensive touch!

This is not for the faint of heart. But for those who seek genuine wines that stand out from the crowd, this is for you. Maybe you won’t salute Pepe’s effort with an “..hooo ahhh” but it will command your attention.

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