Azienda Agricola Rabasco, the best of Abruzzo

By Marco Giovanetti

Not long ago, I was  presently in a winter vacation in Loreto Aprutino visiting family for a change of scenery. Due to a difficult November and December, a trip to the motherland was required. This was a  trip of family, gastronomy and wine.

Luckily enough, I had a chance to visit Rabasco considered to be one of the best producers of the Abruzzo . This tiny  producer has a cult following in Montreal among the most ardent natural wine drinkers. 

The 3.5 hectare estate of Iole Rabasco is located in the village of Pianella, province of Pescara, in the heart of Abruzzo.  The area offers a unique set of meso and micro climates particular to this north-central corner of Abruzzo. For instance, the Adriatic is some 40 kilometers away while the base of Gran Sasso flanks the western edge of the Rabasco property.  

I was kindly received by Iole Rabasco. This shy but assertive lady benefits from inheriting her family’s small vineyard and olive grove, both of which are soils that have never been treated with chemicals.

I tasted La Salita Bianco 2017.  This white wine was macerated on the skins with an expressive and classical profile that comes from Trebbiano d’Abruzzo grapes grown on the high slopes of Loreto Aprutino. It was  round  with lots of substance and intensity. The  bouquet reminded me of notes of pine resin, apricot, ripe citrus and Mediterranean herbs. Artisanal Wine, made with old style methods

Then came the Rosato Damigiana 2018.  This is a 100% Montepulciano d’Abruzzo directly  pressed  from the  San Desiderio vineyard. It is aged in 54 liter damigiana until bottling in the Spring. It has zero sulfur additions with no filtering or fining. The nose was  just ravishing bringing to mind blood oranges with notes of plums and morello cherry. Medium to full body with a wonderful balance and long finale.

I didn’t have a chance to try on site the rosso Damigiana 2017 but I did buy a bottle and drank it with supper on the same night. The wine  takes its name from the wooden containers where it ages, before being bottled during the waning moon. It is a red wine from the Pescara area with a very expressive, incisive and intense taste, the palate is  rich and warm, with aromas of Mediterranean herbs, dark spices and flavours reminiscent of ripe red fruit and dried flowers.

Luckily for us the wines of Rabasco are represented in Quebec by the good people of Glou.