Many years ago, 11 to be precise, I found this winery as I made my way around the Abruzzo pavillon at Vinitaly, Tenuta Ulisse. I was reminded of the winery today as I spoke about the grape Cococciola, an indigenous variety from Abruzzo.
Cococciola bianco isn’t exactly the kind of grape variety that you see on a daily basis. Not unless you grow the variety that is. This variety hails from Abruzzo and is usually vinified together with Trebbiano d”Abruzzo. It is found primarily in the provinces of Chieti, Teramo and L’Aquila.
I am not sure if it was the huge smile on one of the owner’s faces or his enthusiasm that drew me in but whatever the case, I was impressed with his demeanor and more importantly, with a couple of their wines.
Antonio and Luigi, two brothers took over the winery in 2006 that was started by their grandfather Antonio Ulisse at the beginning of the 1900s. The winery is located in Cercchio in the province of Chieti in Abruzzo, between the Adriatic sea and the mountains.
The brothers have also made a specific choice in terms of the closure system that they use. They only uses glass closures.
The winery produces some seven wines under the Unico label: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC, Trebbiano d’Aburuzzo DOC, Cerasuolo di Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC, Chardonnay IGT, Merlot IGT, Pecorino IGT and Cococciola IGT as well as a brand new sparkling wine.
The Cococciola had aromas of apricot, floral notes and other stone fruits. I enjoyed its lovely minerality and lively acidity.
Additionally, I was amazed that one week after the devastating earthquake in L’Acquila on April 6, Luigi Ulisse wrote me an email to say how much he had enjoyed meeting me. I was touched and happy to see that business is alive and well in Abruzzo and that there is a young, energetic generation out there marketing their wines. From their website, it’s clear that the winery has been incredibly successful all these years later.