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.

Over a decade ago, Cristiana and Antonio, daughter and son of Riccardo, took over reins of Tiberio. Cristiana, a chemistry specialist who also teaches college sommelier and enology classes, handles winemaking and is the global brand ambassador. Antonio leads grapegrowing and viticulture. The dynamic team have established Tiberio, and Abruzzo, in the forefront of leading-edge wine making and renown in this central part of Italy.

The Wine

Vineyard Profile

The Archivio is a “single vineyard” Montepulciano d’Abruzzo coming from a specific 3 acre/1.2 hectare portion of our historical 6.2 acre/2.5 hectare vineyard planted to 65 years old Montepulciano vines. It is from this vineyard that over the years we identified, selected and then propagated our massal selections of Montepulciano vines with which we have planted all our Montepulciano vineyards.

The Archivio is a special portion of this larger vineyard because it is the only plot on the whole property that has a strong clay presence in the subsoil (limestone soil – subsoil with presence of clay and iron oxide). The Montepulciano that grows in the Archivio vineyard has different characteristics and so do the wines that are made with it. It is from this vineyard that we identified four different Montepulciano biotypes that look and behave differently from other known Montepulciano biotypes and clones. Therefore, it represents our estates’s historical Montepulciano vines library, or archive (hence the wine’s name: “archivio” in Italian translates to archive). The four biotypes have been named after our estate’s dogs, that are as much a part of our family’s history as the wines we make.

Differences between the four biotypes are numerous, but these can be generalized in: one biotype is characterized by smaller round berries with thicker skins that reach full physiologic polyphenol ripeness with greater ease, Tione98; a second biotype that has grapes with thin skins (and therefore a lower skin to pulp ratio with more juice) and higher acidity levels, Quarmari15; a third by a much longer bunch and it is the latest ripening of the four, Diana18 (do keep in mind Montepulciano is a late ripening variety as it is); and a fourth biotype characterized by a very round leaf instead of the more typical multilobed, jagged leaf and by seeds that only rarely turn completely brown (therefore delivering a much more tannic wine that is nonetheless more often than not nobly tannic despite the seeds not turning colour fully) Otto19 .

The spontaneous fermentation carried out with natural, vineyard-specific yeasts only reaches higher temperatures, indicating how this specific yeast population is adapted to a specific environment and able to work at higher temperatures and lead to deeper natural extraction of polyphenols.

The result is a wine that is at once fresh and elegant but also quite powerful, with darker colour, aromas and flavours, and greater density than our other Montepulcianos, a profile that is fully expressive of the wine’s specific terroir. For these reasons, and unlike all our other wines, the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Archivio is partly aged in oak (barriques, 30% new). The use of the barriques is not out of a desire to make an oak-aged wine, but rather a consequence of the wine’s specific characteristics and need for a greater amount of oxygenation.

Harvest Notes
  • Hand harvested mid-October
  • Spontaneous fermentation with indigenous yeasts only in stainless steel tanks for 40 days
  • Spontaneous malolactic fermentation in stainless steel tanks
  • Aged 12 months in 30% French oak barrique (33% new), 70% stainless steel
  • Bottled unfined and unfiltered
  • Aged in bottle 12 months
Winemaker's Notes

Intensely aromatic, powerful and elegant. Smoky dark and red cherry fruits with spices. Flavors of violets, roses and licorice. Smooth, vibrant and fresh.

Wine Summary

Inagural release; 100% massal selection Montepulciano d’Abruzzo grapes from 4 distinct biotypes; alcohol 14%; Archivio is a single vineyard wine from the historical 6.2 acre/2.5 ha vineyard with 65 year old vines; strong clay subsoil under limestone soils; fermented in stainless steel with only indigenous yeasts 40 days; spontaneous malolactic fermentation; aged 12 months in 30% oak barriques, 70% stainless; bottled unfined and unfiltered; aged 12 months in bottle.

Technical Information
  • 100% massal selection Montepulciano d’Abruzzo from 4 different biotypes
  • Alcohol: 14%
  • pH: 3.05
  • Yield: 30 hl


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  (08/2021)

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. (03/2021)

Terroir Sense - Ian D'Agata, August, 2021

General Info

Country Italy
Region Abruzzo
Appellation(s) Abruzzo
Proprietors Riccardo, Cristiana, Antonio Tiberio (father, daughter, son)
Founded 2000
Winemaker Cristiana Tiberio
Annual Production 8,300 9L cases
Farming (Sustainable, organic, biodynamic) Sustainable