Few people have heard of Montonico, but the grape variety has a long, significant history. One source dating from 1615, from the Catasto Onciario, shows that a variety with that name was already being grown around Bisenti, near Teramo at that time. During the centuries, it was often cited as a very productive variety and good for eating. In fact it was always better known as a table grape than as a variety for wine.
Until the 1960s, Montonico was widespread throughout Abruzzo, but then its cultivation area began to shrink and it is now found almost exclusively around Bisenti and Cermignano, which is where it was mostly cultivated in the past as well. Over time it adapted well to the territory close to the Gran Sasso, and grows even over 500 meters above sea level. In fact it is a very vigorous vine, which thanks to its innate gift for adaptation has found its true identity here in this corner of the world. The local adversities (cold winters and hard, pebbly, chalky soil) give the grapes their typical sensory characteristics.
The variety has a large, elongated bunch, with an almost cylindrical shape, and the berries are large and round with a thick, greenish-yellow skin. The variety has a good tolerance to botrytis attacks and has plenty of pulp; the must obtained from pressing the grapes is pale straw-yellow, tending towards green, with a fresh, floral nose.
The grapes ripen at the end of October and stand up well to drying. Traditionally they were eaten fresh or raisined, or made into wine or vinegar. For centuries the variety was an important source of sustenance and income for the population of this poor, mountainous zone on the slopes of Gran Sasso. These days little production remains. The local vineyards are increasingly being abandoned and the little Montonico still grown is used as a table grape or tied, bunch by bunch, and hung from the beams of the house and left to dry until the Christmas period, when they begin to be eaten. Wine production, once flourishing, is now practiced at a professional level by only three winemakers, due to a lack of grapes and little investment in machinery and premises.
Montonico grapes are harvested at the end of October.
Bisenti and Cermignano municipalities (Poggio delle Rose hamlet), Teramo province
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Gal leader Teramano
Loc. Chioviano Basso, 38
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