Archivio Montepulciano d’Abruzzo – 2017

Region: Italy - Abruzzo


The story of Azienda Agricola Tiberio rings more like a new world tale than one from the old world of the ancient lands beneath the Majella and Gran Sasso mountains in Abruzzo. At 350 meters, twenty three miles inland from the seaside city of Pescara near the hillside town of Cugnoli, Riccardo Tiberio found an old plot of Trebbiano Abruzzese vines roughly 50 years old so impressive that he decided to change his and his family’s destiny.


95+ Points

Garnering an official “wow” from the very first tilt of the glass, the 2017 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Archivio is breathtaking. Roses, violets, stone dust and sour citrus set the stage, deepening with notes of ripe blackberries, cherries and hints of brown spice. It’s profoundly textural, as a silky wave ushers in ripe red and hints of blue fruit, spice, licorice and sweet lavender. This dances across the palate, pliant and soothing at times but then angular and boisterous at others, leaving a fine coating of saturating tannin behind. I love the harmony here, already so likable yet also youthfully reserved. My best advice is to check in on at least one bottle now, but to lose the rest in your cellar for a number of years. The Archivio is produced from four separate biotypes in Cristiana Tiberio’s vineyard. These are the oldest of her vines, averaging 60 years, and all are pergola-trained, growing in clay-rich soils. Also, due to the thicker skins and need for oxygen during vinification, 30% of the wine is matured for twelve months in new barrique. This is a whole new level for Tiberio Montepulciano.  2023 – 2035

Vinous, April, 2021
96 Points

Luminous deep ruby. Very expressive, complex and deep nose of smoky dark and red cherry fruit, sweet spices, flint and cocoa, but with the tell-tale Tiberio refinement. Then very smooth and creamy, but with a ripely penetrating quality to its multilayered dark fruit and sweet spice flavours: the oak here is not obtrusive at all but adds an extra dimension and another layer to the wine. The finish is long and suave. This is the first ever vintage of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Archivio, the Tiberio’s brand new Montepulciano d’Abruzzo that is a Riserva in everything but name. It is also the first wine the estate has ever aged in wood (30% of the wine is aged in French oak barriques, 33% of which are new), made with grapes picked from 65 years old Montepulciano vines growing in a specific 1.2 hectare section of a larger 2.5 hectare vineyard. These vines are of four different old Montepulciano biotypes that the brother and sister team of Antonio and Cristiana Tiberio have saved and nurtured over the years; this explains the wine’s name, archivio, or archive, that refers to what is in effect an archive of rare Montepulciano biotypes. Drinking window: now-2032

Along with Valentini and Emidio Pepe, Tiberio is a recognized Italian star wine estate that has pushed wine lovers and collectors to pay attention to a region, Abruzzo, mostly known for red and white wines of little or no interest (except for the fact they don’t cost much). This 2017 is the first ever vintage of Tiberio’s Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Archivio, the estate’s brand new Riserva red wine that is also the first wine ever made at the estate to be aged in wood (30% of the wine is aged in French oak barriques, 33% of which are new). The best lots of Montepulciano grapes coming from a specific 1.2 hectare section of a larger 2.5 hectare vineyard planted with 65 year old vines (hence the wine’s name, archivio or archive, referring to the archive of four rare Montepulciano biotypes planted on the property) were vinified separately and after roughly six years of trials and study, the estate will be releasing its first ever vintage of “Archivio” early in 2021. I am honoured to be the first, and so far the only, wine journalist to have tasted this wine when I visited the estate this summer, and I can tell you that it is a magnificent wine, redolent in smoky dark and red cherry fruit and spices, in which the typical refinement that Tiberio is so uniquely able to pull out of the rustic Montepulciano grape is coupled to oak-derived power and smoothness of texture. And another future Italian wine star is born.

Terroir Sense - Ian D'Agata, August, 2021