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.
Pale yellow. Vibrant aromas of lime, lemongrass and minerals, plus a subtle floral quality, without the herbal qualities of most modern, very Sauvignon Blanc–like Pecorino wines and displaying a steely, focused character. Taut citrus and green apple flavors carry no excess weight and are complicated by a subtle anise quality on the long, bright finish. Tiberio’s is a true benchmark Pecorino wine, but this happens to also be either the best or one of the best Pecorinos they’ve made in years. 2019 – 2028
Cristiana Tiberio planted out Pecorino from just five old vines discovered in her vineyard. Sage and lemongrass aromas meet custard apple, winter melon and green apple. Chewy and packed with flavour, the palate is underscored by searing acidity. Drinking Window 2019 – 2024
Ones to watch: Southern Italian wineries to seek out
Siblings Cristiana and Antonio Tiberio work solely with a massal selection of Abruzzo’s native grapes. ‘They represent the original genetic patrimony with distinct flavours of the region,’ says Cristiana. Her meticulous yet hands-off winemaking translates into impeccable wines, from the Cerasuolo (a dark and serious yet charming rosato) to the single-vineyard bottling Fonte Canale, crafted from 60-year-old Trebbiano Abruzzese vines.
Luminous yellow, with just a hint of a pale green tinge. The lively nose offers aromas of lemon, lime and minerals, nicely lifted by lemon verbena and jasmine notes. Then steely and boasting noteworthy clarity and cut to the fresh lime, guava and green apple flavors. Closes juicy and with a laser-like acidity extending a hint of wild fennel on the long back end. Easily the best Pecorino wine Tiberio has made in the last few years. 2021 – 2028
The 2018 Pecorino lifts from the glass with an incredibly pretty, understated display. This Pecorino is focused and poised, as crushed stone and white smoke yield to young pear with savory hints of washed cheese rind and sea air. Soft textures are contrasted by salty minerals and vibrant acids, as white orchard fruits give way to pretty inner florals. The depth here is unreal, as it tapers off long and dramatic, densely wrapped up in its youthful state yet buzzing with energy. This is easily one of the best vintages I’ve tasted of Tiberio’s Pecorino. Make sure to place a few bottles in the cellar as well. 2021 – 2030