To say that Italy has an ancestral and ancient connection with wine would be a heck of an understatement. This is a country which really shaped wine as we know it today, and you cannot pass through a single village in Italy where winemaking traditions don’t abound, nor where the locals won’t beam with pride as they tell you about the millennia of viticulture that led to their own unique and individual styles.

This sense of heritage is key to the wines of Francesco Cirelli, a visionary Abruzzo winemaker who has made it his mission to keep alive some of the most ancient winemaking techniques. While many wineries around the world are turning back the clock, and making wines according to pre-industrialised methods, Cirelli is going one step further, and is looking to ancient Roman and Greek vinification for inspiration.

Cirelli is synonymous with the use of clay and terracotta amphorae for producing his highly characterful, deeply flavoured Montepulciano wines. He deeply believes that by making his wine in baked earth, he is taking the concept of terroir to new and exciting heights, and stripping away the complications and unnecessary extra processes of contemporary winemaking. It’s hard to disagree with him: this is winemaking which literally puts the vintner and the wine in touch with the earth, in touch with history, and in touch with simple, effective, and time-honoured methods - and the results are utterly delicious. Despite the unusual nature of his techniques, Francesco Cirelli is no fussy historian or meticulous obsessive - he’s a young, excited, and passionate vintner who simply wants to capture the real flavours of the land he works with. After all, three thousand years of history can’t be wrong...

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