Vinum Hadrianum Making a Name in Abruzzo
With all of the above in mind, let’s zero in on Abruzzo's truly extraordinary winemaking region, speciﬁcally the area surrounding a small medieval village known as Atri.
This is where a remarkable history-inspired winemaking project known as Vinum Hadrianum is beginning to get much attention. It is believed that beloved Emperor Hadrian, who reigned 2000 years ago, at the height of the Roman Empire, got his name from this Idyllic enclave once inhabited by his parents.
Suppose you can ﬁnd your way to Rome, just head due east until the alluring aroma of the Adriatic Sea ﬁlls the air. When it does, you’re there. Atri is about a dozen kilometers west of the Adriatic. Rome essentially shares the same latitude as Atri on Italy’s opposite west shore.
The Abruzzo region runs parallel to the abundant Adriatic Sea, inﬂuencing grape growing in magical ways. Visitors typically ﬂy into Rome and then take a comfortable ride through Italy’s breathtaking midsection aboard inexpensive
luxury coaches. The native vines of Abruzzo thrive in what was known as Ager Hadrianus in ancient times, a territory rich with historic architecture and immense natural beauty. The region extends from the Gran Pebble's slopes to the Adriatic Sea's shores. It is where Vinum Hadrianum’s vineyards are located, just outside Atri’s fortiﬁed medieval walls.
Atri is in the heart of Abruzzo, and its stunning countryside is where you’ll ﬁnd the world-famous Calanchi. The Calanchi's stark white eroded hillsides have distinguished the region as one of Italy's wildest, most untamed places. The Calanchi di Atri is a protected area rich with biodiversity, including countless wildlife species, from porcupines and badgers to owls, hawks, wild boars, and the Italian wolf. This breathtaking but treacherous land is ideally suited to produce exceptional organic wine; inspired by ancient tradition and made free from chemical intervention.
Farming requires much extra work.
The terrain of the Calanchi does not allow for mechanization in the vineyard. Everything must be done by hand. As a result, Vinum Hadrianum is, by necessity, a boutique, small production winery that proudly shows off its artisan
pedigree by producing wines that are simply irresistible.
None of Vinum Hadrianum’s vineyards require irrigation because coastal inﬂuences from the Adriatic Sea deliver the optimal amount of precipitation necessary to nourish the vines. During the wettest months, the clay soils drain well, allowing the vines to dig deep into the earth, allowing the land to do much of the hard work for us.
With all that being said, it's here in Abruzzo that you will ﬁnd many of Italy’s most delicious and largely undiscovered varietals. Though unintentional, these exceptional wines please the American palate remarkably well but have yet to
be discovered by the vast majority of new world wine enthusiasts.
The good news is that most Americans who try Abruzzian wines for the ﬁrst time ﬁnd them deeply satisfying. From the creamy, viscous, white Pecorino to the stunning red superstar Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, it’s tough to ﬁnd a wine from this region that you won't like.
Nonetheless, suppose you placed a bottle of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo alongside a bottle of Napa Cabernet and invited American red wine drinkers to choose one. In that case, it’s a safe bet that at least 75% would go for the Cabernet Sauvignon. It's all about what you know… that comfort zone.