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Non c'e pane senza pena

No bread without work

  

THE GIANTS OF ABRUZZO: EMIDIO PEPE AND EDUARDO VALENTINI
SEPTEMBER 15, 2014

 

Join us on Monday, September 15th for the next installment of our Vintage Tasting Series, “The Giants of Abruzzo.”

 

From Abruzzo, in the mid-20th century, emerge two iconoclastic alchemists in the world of Italian winemaking; whose meticulous methods of impeccable, disciplined viticulture produce wines that have attained cult status.

 

The wines of Emidio Pepe, whose land is in northeast Abruzzo in the province of Teramo, and the wines of Eduardo Valentini, whose land lies in the central province of Pescara, were revolutionary. Up until that point in time, wine from Abruzzo, although abundant, was by-in-large flaccid, barely quaffable juice of forgettable quality.

 

Pepe and Valentini were at the forefront of a nascent evolution in the viticulture of Southern Italy from bulk-wine production to artisanal, boutique wine-making. Initially, Italian wine appreciators were skeptical. Today, any collector of Italian wine considers himself fortunate to have in his cellar a bottle from either one of these producers, who judiciously release only a limited portion of their annual production.

 

Emidio Pepe makes rustic, strictly hand-crafted Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Trebbiano d’Abuzzo that age beautifully for decades. His practice of 50 years of viticulture has been, from day one, biodynamic. From old vines, whose roots reach three to four meters down into the ferrous, limestone soils of the Appenine foothills, he gently coaxes wines of depth and complexity. The Emidio Pepe winery is very much a family affair. At 82, Emidio still tends vines and has the last word, but shares all aspects of the winemaking business with his two daughters Sophia and Daniella, as well as his grand-daughter Chiara de Iulis.

 

Eduardo Valentini, who died in 2006 at the age of 72, was an enigmatic vintner who didn’t engage with his admiring, curious patrons. He began making his extraordinary Trebbiano and Montepulciano in 1956. Eventually his professional colleagues, Anjelo Gaja for one, spread the word about the innovative wines from this reclusive, uncompromising artisan. The Valentini Trebbiano d’Abruzzo is round, creamy and powerfully structured—truly at the apex of what Trebbiano can be. Valentini Montepulciano is earth, layered with smoke and wild mountain herbs. Eduardo’s son Francesco Paolo Valentini is now at the helm of the winery.

 

We invite you to an Abruzzese panarda —a banquet of many courses, each paired with a rare wine from either Eduardo Valentini or Emidio Pepe, two giants from Abruzzo who elevated the wines from this region to astronomical heights.

 

Emidio Pepe Trebbiano d’Abruzzo 2006

Edoardo Valentini Trebbiano d’Abruzzo 2005

Edoardo Valentini Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo 2008

Emidio Pepe Montepucliano d’Abruzzo 1977

Emidio Pepe Montepucliano d’Abruzzo 1983

Edoardo Valentini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2006

Praesidium Mostocotto Montepucliano d’Abruzzo NV

 

Reservations are available from 5:30 to 11:15PM. To reserve, please email vintagebabbo@babbonyc.com

$400 per person exclusive of tax and gratuity

 

WHAT IS VINTAGE BABBO?

On select Monday evenings, we invite Italian wine lovers to join us for a special tasting menu paired with the best vintage wines from the depths of our cellar. Unlike many restaurant wine dinners, these are not distributor-sponsored events featuring “current-release” wines. The allure of Vintage Babbo is that it’s a personal expression of the restaurant; an opportunity for us to dig deep into our cellar (as much as it may sometimes hurt to see these wines leave); and an excuse to share the best of the best with our customers.