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 siliceous soil rich in lime and iron. The Trebbiano is foot trodden in wooden tubs in order to avoid contact between the iron presses and the acids of the fruit. 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, naturally fermented and aged 18-24 months in glass-lined tanks. The wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered, without added SO2, and aged in their cellar, in bottles, for continued development. Before release, the wines are decanted by hand into new bottles and labeled. An extensive stock of older vintages is kept at the cellar.