The story of Cantina Tollo is one of passion and resilience. The cooperative was founded in 1960, against all odds, just as the Abruzzo countryside struggled with the woes of a mass exodus. While emigrants tried their luck for a better future in foreign countries, the women and men behind the birth of Cantina Tollo remained passionately committed to their land and their vines, knowing that now matter how hard the present, the future was to be built in their homeland. ‘Wine gives courage and makes men more apt for passion’, wrote Ovid, the famous elegiac poet from Sulmona in Abruzzo – and both courage and passion were attributes upon which Cantina Tollo was founded. A project in which the commitment of each small grower allows a big dream to come true: producing wines that reflect the land and spirit of Abruzzo.
In the two decades following its foundation, the cooperative played a central role in the social, economic and cultural development of Abruzzo, establishing a new understanding of the value and potential of its viticulture. It served as a catalyst of the revolution that elevated the quality, typicity and expressiveness of the wines of Abruzzo in Italy and beyond. The village of Tollo itself, where the cooperative has its ageing cellars today, became a true ‘city of wine’; a hub of activity and community that revived a region of incredible, but often forgotten, natural beauty.
It’s impossible to understand the essence of the wines of Cantina Tollo without delving into the incredible landscape and food and wine traditions of Abruzzo. Stretching from the azure waters of the Adriatic to the rugged slopes of the Apennines, much of Abruzzo is covered by natural parks and reserves. Local viticulture has therefore developed in a context of biodiversity and respect for the natural setting of which the indigenous grape varieties – the sole focus of Cantina Tollo’s production – are a fundamental part. The culture and food & wine traditions have also emerged from a deep connection with the region’s natural resources, sublimating the quality of the local produce – from both sea and land – and the trademark hospitality of the people of Abruzzo.
Always striving to increase quality standards and consolidate the commitment to the preservation of Abruzzo’s natural and cultural patrimony, Cantina Tollo has worked steadily to improve its sustainability practices across all operational sectors: environmental, economic and social. In 2022, the cooperative was granted the Equalitas certification, a comprehensive audit of sustainability-best practices in the wine sector. This reaffirms the will to work towards a common goal: preserving the essence of Abruzzo, its wines and people – and sharing them around a big table of delicious local food!
Cantina Tollo – Four wines to know:
A selection of four wines, with tasting notes by the Decanter team, which will offer a fantastic introduction to Cantina Tollo’s range
‘Peco’ Pecorino Terre di Chieti IGP 2022
From selected plots of the local ancestral variety, this wine has a poised mineral backbone and delicious zesty aromas (lime peel, lemon zest) lined by herbal notes of wild fennel and sage. Four months on the lees have lent it a certain creaminess, making it very food friendly, while still fresh and lifted.
‘Hedòs’ Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo 2022
A very gastronomic rosé with soft acid lifting the pomegranate, red cherry and pink grapefruit aromas. Good presence on the mid palate with a persistent strawberry jam sweetness.
‘Mo’ Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOP Riserva 2018
Elegant and fragrant nose, with an enveloping scent of wild herbs (oregano, thyme and tarragon) over the deep dark fruit. The palate is soft and layered, with a core of sweet plum, black cherry and mulberry lined by cocoa, nutmeg and allspice. A wine that is still in its infancy and will develop beautifully in the next decade.
‘Cagiòlo’ Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOP Riserva 2018
Lovely breadth both on the palate and nose. Filigreed aromas of ripe raspberry, strawberries, red plum and maraschino cherry. Firm round tannins, carrying the fruit as well as spicy notes of vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. A wine that will benefit from a few years in the cellar to reveal its full complexity.
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