Branella & Casa Pepe
Single Vineyard Release
A whistle-stop tour to learn all about Emidio Pepe's latest project
Before we tell you about our latest trip to Abruzzo, for those of you who are new to Emidio Pepe, here's a quick summary of one of the most well-respected wine producers in Abruzzo, Italy...
The Pepe family estate, was established in Abruzzo back in 1899 by the original Emidio Pepe, grandfather of the current owner - also Emidio Pepe!
The vineyards are nestled between the Adriatic Sea and the Apennine Mountains, providing the perfect microclimate for Trebbiano and Montepulciano.
The estate as of today is 17 hectares of vines, all carefully watched over by Chiara Pepe - granddaughter of Emidio - who has officially taken the helm with the ongoing assistance of her mother Daniela, aunt Sofia, her sister Elisa and of course Emidio himself.
Pepe wines are known world-wide thanks to the family's precise biodynamic practices, an extensive knowledge of winemaking and A LOT of hard work.
24 Hours In Abruzzo
In May we had the pleasure of hopping on a plane to Abruzzo to spend the day catching up with Chiara at the estate. Although the weather was not exactly in our favour, it didn’t stop us pulling our boots on and heading out into the vineyards to gain a deeper understanding of their unique terroir.
This particular rainfall rounded off one of the wettest Mays that Abruzzo has seen in recent years, however, this brought a smile to Chiara’s face as she explained that the rainwater cools down the soil allowing for a slower ripening season. This makes it possible for the grapes to retain their fresh acidity whilst developing the beautiful complexity the wines of Emidio Pepe are known for.
Chiara continued to explain that at the estate they are passionate about agroforestry. Today, aside from their vineyards, there are 10 hectares in the surrounding areas dedicated to a multitude of cover crops, local flora, ancient wheat, olive groves and native trees. All which have been planted to give back to the earth the energy that is consumed by the vines. The family consider it to be their responsibility not just to farm the land, but to take care of it. All the work that takes place in the vineyards is done with the aim to make the land even more beautiful and energised for the future.
Time To Taste
Following our tour of the estate we returned to the Agriturismo where we had the opportunity to taste some unbelievable wines, including the newest vintages that have just landed in our warehouse!
We started our tasting with the 2019 Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, this was a notably cooler vintage overall with plenty of rainfall during spring, which aided its beautiful retention of acidity and subtly aromatic character.
We then had the chance to taste the 2020 IGT Pecorino. The vines for this wine were planted in 2006 and can be found on the only north facing vineyard at the estate. On the palate there is a rich texture coupled with zesty freshness. It’s compact, tight bunches of berries with thick skins allow for a much deeper extraction of flavour, so, despite following the same process in the cellar as Trebbiano, the resulting personality of this wine is completely unique.
We then moved onto the reds, heading back 14 years to taste the 2009 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. A slightly cooler vintage overall, this bottle encompasses all the special characters of a Pepe wine as expected, with silky elegant tannins supported by lively acidity and pronounced red fruits – it’s the red wine of all red wines…
On to 2013 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo - a fantastic vintage fuelled by a season of balanced rainfall and sunshine leading to a high-quality harvest. This vintage has intense aromas on the nose and an elegant structure on the palate with a long complex finish. An absolute delight.
"It's like when you have a book of history, or a vertical of wines and every page you open tells a very specific moment, and every bottle you open shows a very specific time - taking a picture of that season, locking it in a bottle and then letting it age reflects its aptitude. Like a history book."
- Chiara Pepe
Branella & Casa Pepe
2020 is a unique vintage for Emidio Pepe, being the first year that the 2 vineyards Branella & Casa Pepe have been vinified and bottled as separate cuvées and we were fortunate enough to experience them both!
The vines that make up the Branella parcel were acquired by Emidio Pepe in 1981 but the vines themselves were already well established having been planted in 1966. The terroir here is deep with a higher sand component and more water drainage. This results in a distinctly floral personality, one that comes to the fore in the 2020 Branella Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, which we official now have in stock!
The vines of Casa Pepe were grafted between 1970 and 1974 onto soils with a strong silt base. This allows for greater water holding potential and a longer ripening season and so, Casa Pepe is the last parcel to be harvested. The longer growing season gives plenty of time for the phenolics to fully develop as well as the tannins. It is this that provides 2020 Casa Pepe Montepulciano d’Abruzzo with what Pepe himself calls the “velluto”, the magical velvet sensation you feel in your mouth when you take a sip.Full Terroir Report
Part Of The Family
This was followed by a delicious dinner – think wild mushroom brioche, home-reared and cured prosciutto steak, Sachertorte chocolate marmalade cake that showcased true Italian hospitality, hosted by Chiara and her sister Elisa
As the night grew dark and having spent the evening sampling these incredible wines alongside Italian delights such as their home-reared and cured prosciutto and their house-made pasta, it was time to bid our farewells.
Our visit was short, but unsurprisingly by the time we had to leave we felt totally at home. We arrived as friends, but left feeling like part of the family.
Pepe wines are in high demand and allocations aren't huge, so please place your orders to avoid disappointment. If you would like to know about future vintage releases, please let us know!Shop All