The Sorricchio family has owned the baronial fief of Valforte since the 13th Century. The Tenute Barone di Valforte vineyards cover 42 hectares of vineyards in various communes in the hills around Città Sant’Angelo, more or less 6 kilometers from the Adriatic Sea, at 3-400 meters in altitude. Currently, the brothers Guido and Francesco Sorricchio head this ancient, noble family. At once urbane, sincere, and wonderfully eager, any sniff of aristocracy is overshadowed by an enormous sense of fun. Both are trained medical doctors, a dental surgeon and radiologist respectively, but though they divide their time between homes in Rome and Silva, on the coast of the Adriatic, one senses that their hearts truly reside here, in Abruzzo. I once asked Francesco why, when they have so much, they pursue endeavors such as a new winery; he replied: “You don’t choose where you are born. When you have a lot, you must do a lot.”
The investment these gentleman farmers have made in their winery is truly impressive. After growing and selling grapes for 300 years, they took no shortcuts when the current generation decided to bottle the products of their vineyards. The winery (built in 2004) in Città Sant’Angelo is absolutely state of the art, as clean as any I’ve ever visited, with full-on computer monitoring and control of every aspect of vinification. Winemaker Leo Palumba oversees winemaking operations, but clearly the main work is in the vineyard, where Montepulciano is grown on south-facing mountain vineyards, and the white varietals - Trebbiano, Percorino, and Passerina - are grown on the cooler, north-facing slopes (which helps explain why the whites from this warm area show so much freshness and finesse). Many of the vineyards have been newly replanted - using superior clones, and trained with Cordon Espallier. They currently bottle about 92,000 bottles of wine - though their capacity is for 3 to 4 times more.
Their holdings in the new “Colline Teramane” DOCG area (first vintage to be allowed the new DOCG was in 2003) currently total 4 hectares (with 3 more coming on-line soon) - of a total of only about 120 Ha within the DOCG (distributed among about 20 producers). Only mountainside vineyards are granted the appellation - and the limited production DOCG wine, “Colle Sale”, is truly Montepulciano d’Abruzzo of the finest expression.