Import Selection: Trebbiano D’Abbruzzo, 1991. Citra

The Citra Cellars is an associa­tion of fourteen member wineries and their affiliated vineyards. A large-scale, efficient interpretation of the winemaking co-operative concept, Citra acquires its grapes from a staggering 10,000 wine-grape growers! These farmers cul­tivate the fertile, ideal-for-grapes, limestone and loam coastal hills in the province of Chieti, which lies about two hours east of Rome in central Italy’s Abruzzi region.

We find here an ancient bastion of viticulture. Recent archeological digs at Crecchio, the heart of Cit­ra’s production area, unearthed amphoras (wine jugs) which dated back to the second century A.D. Even so, Citra keeps technology and equipment as up to date as possible. The co-op’s state-of-the-art bottling center in Ortona can handle an astonishing 12,000 bottles per hour! This marriage of modern and ancient culminates in the association’s use of a local twelfth century castle, the impres­sive and handsome Castello di Crecchio, to age its best wines.

Through rigorous selection only the top 10% of the wines pro­duced by the co-op go to market under the “Citra” label.

Selectivity is a key factor. High-yielding vines (Trebbiano is a classic example) can all too easily produce wines so inadequate that their grapes are often best used for brandy production. (95% of all the Cognac produced in France comes from Trebbiano (Ugni Blanc) grapes). In Italy, cultivated as six major subvarieties, Trebbiano is the most widely planted white wine grape. Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, however, is not one of these sub-varieties. Trebbiano d’Abruzzo is actually the Abruzzi region’s most important local grape, Bombino Bianco. This grape, having as­sumed the role played by Trebbia­no throughout the rest of Italy, is called Trebbiano d’Abruzzo analo­gously!

Our selection contains 100% Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. It has a pale greenish yellow color and a mild, fruity aroma typical of Italian white wine. The body is light/medium and smooth. The wine is dry, clean-tasting, with refreshing acid­ity and a fruity, slighty nutty fla­vor. Good balance. It finishes clean and crisp with a pleasant typ­ically Italian aftertaste.

Serve well-chilled with batter-fried calamari with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice (no tomato sauce), assorted vege­tables sautéed with butter, white wine and thyme.

Cellaring notes: Will drink nicely now through 1994.

Reviewed by Larry Tepper

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