Gianni Masciarelli 2021 Trebbiano d'Abruzzo


Your new house wine ...

From €7.75, $8.99, 1,140 Serbian dinari, £10.50, 12.90 Swiss francs, 391 Mexican pesos

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It could be argued that 35-year-old Gianni Masciarelli put Abruzzo on the map when he started his winery in 1981. After working vintages in Champagne, he came home, convinced that he could make something more than rustic wines in his home region. He lowered yields, improved practices in the vineyards, modernised the winery and winemaking practices and basically started a revolution. He started with a mere 2 ha of vineyard; today it is nearly 300 ha (750 acres). When he died in 2008, suddenly and way too young at the age of 52, he left behind three young children and his dynamic wife, Serbian-Croatian Marina Cvetic. He also left a legacy for the whole region of Abruzzo, having proved that not only good but great wines could be made from its terroir and indigenous grapes. Despite having a babe in arms at the time of her husband’s death, Cvetic took over the running of the estate, and today this formidable woman runs it with her eldest daughter, Miriam Lee (pictured above on the right, Marina on the left, and daughter/sister Chiara in the middle).

The Masciarelli's Castello di Semivicolii estate

I don’t know the last time I was so taken by a £10 wine. ‘Summer in a glass!’, I wrote. At this price, I expected something relatively industrial – at the very least clean but anodyne; predictable aromas from cultured yeast; a dab of residual sugar to boost the flavours into a semblance of fruitiness that might give the wine six months in bottle. Not at all! This little number is a rare creature in the business of inexpensive wine. It’s real.

Utterly without pretension, it leaps out the glass in a happy haze of apricots and blossoms. If you drink it on the cooler side, it offers a fleshy abundance of juicy fruit that is garlanded with flowers, laced with green-apple acidity and brushed with sweet fennel. A day or two later, a little warmer, and it’s crimped into a way of tasting that I always think of as ‘Italianate’. In my head space it’s a fresco on white marble: aloe vera, green apple peel, citrus peel, apricot kernel, kohlrabi, nocellara olives. It’s a scribbled flourish of bitterness, very slightly smudged into sweetness, into rain-pitted-stone minerality.

Masciarelli vineyards in San Martino sulla Marrucina, in the province of Chieti, where the winery is located.

I happened to be testing out some recipes to go with Spanish wines, and this congenial little wine happens to love grilled green onions and romesco, and white-bean-and-mushroom stew. I went off-piste, and damn, it was good with fried halloumi. It’s the kind of wine that would be perfect with pizza bianco. And it was smashing with roasted-cumin-seed-ravished home-made hummus.

This 100% Trebbiano d’Abruzzo (not to be confused with the more common Trebbiano Toscano) is grown in Masciarelli’s Loreto Aprutino vineyards at about 250 m (820 ft) above sea level. It’s harvested at the end of September and fermented in stainless steel. No airs, no graces, no fancy anything. Just a delicious bottle of food-friendly wine that is VVGV.


You can buy it in Italy, Germany, Spain, Serbia, Switzerland and Mexico. It’s available in the US, where Table & Vine in MA offer it for the almost give-away price of $8.99. And you can find it in the UK at Vinvm from £10.50 and at £13 from Petersham Cellar (I’ve included the link because they are not showing up on Wine-Searcher).

Explore Abruzzo a little more.

Images are provided by Masciarelli.