Wines to Seek Out
Cirelli wisely has a négociant line of wines called Collina Biologica which acts as a supplemental revenue stream for the whole endeavor. Those wines are crisp, refreshing and easy-drinking. But the real magic lines in the Anfora line detailed below.
Francesco Cirelli "Anfora" Trebbiano d'Abruzzo
One of the better examples of Trebbiano d'Abruzzo. Immediately graceful and open, which is a hallmark of Cirelli's style of winemaking. Caressing aromas suggestive of lemon, white peach and vanilla bean — even without the oak — and on the palate it has a creamy but subdued expression.
Francesco Cirelli "Anfora" Abruzzo Pecorino
Pecorino continues to emerge as one of Italy's most captivating white wines with this top-notch bottling. Whisper-light aromas reveal a wine where fruit is not the headline, but rather a stony sensation — not unlike Fiano or Carricante. There is a salty-like quality to the finish on this wine that begs for another sip.
Cirelli's amphora-aged Pecorino macerates for 24 hours and is allowed to age 18 months once fermentation is complete. But this is a white wine, not an amber (Pecorino's pigment wouldn't achieve such a hue).
Francesco Cirelli "Anfora" Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo
There are many reasons to celebrate the Abruzzo's rosato; variety being chief among them. Cirelli's version is silky and caressing, with expansive flavors on the palate, yet it is never overwhelming. To me the fruit tones were akin to lightly cooked strawberries, with a hint of dark flowers and a juniper-like herbaceousness that makes this one of my First-Taste recommendations for Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo.
“In the past times, [Cerasuolo] was considered to be the real farmer wine — the wine of the poor people," he told me during my visit. "And so it is very linked to our roots and heritage.” If Cirelli isn’t satisfied with the vintage’s ability to express what he wants in a Cerasuolo, he’ll skip the vintage and devote the fruit to his entry-level wine.
Francesco Cirelli "Anfora" Montepulciano d'Abruzzo
A supple, fresh and juicy rendition of Montepulciano, Cirelli's "Anfora" might be the most playful Montepulciano d'Abruzzo on the market. It pops on the palate with joyous dark berrries and botanical tertiary notes, all held together by a silkiness that I find to be very enjoyable. This is not a Montepulciano d'Abruzzo that you'd recognize, but if you give it time, the leathery soul of the grape shows up on the finish. I found this wine to be fascinating.
Cirelli's wine could qualify for the Colline Teramano DOCG, but because that appellation name is unknown on the marketplace — and it because doesn't include "Montepulciano d'Abruzzo" in the name — he has opted for the DOC level. This is yet another case where the intentions of codifying quality via the DOCG/DOC system don't line up with reality. All the more reason to create lists like this to showcase where the most talented winemakers in Italy are.