Antonio Cataldi Madonna is an amazing success story and the maker of some of Italy’s greatest white wines of today, he is correctly regarded by wine experts as one of the top wineries not just in Abruzzo, but in Italy as well. The credit for such a rise to stardom must go to his son Luigi, who followed in his father’s footsteps at the estate, founded in 1920. Though Antonio launched the estate into the modern era with his arrival in 1968 (he replanted the vineyards, renovated the buildings and the technical equipment), it is Luigi, aided by star consultant winemaker Lorenzo Landi, who has really put Cataldi Madonna on the map by believing in the native grape variety Pecorino, from which he crafts what is arguably one of Italy’s top ten white wines. Luigi is very keen on trying to preserve and to develop the specific regional characteristics of the wines and it is to his credit that the Trebbiano d’Abruzzo has also never been better; indeed the 2011 is the best ever made at the estate.
The winery has its seat in Ofena, a small town in Italy’s Abruzzo region at an altitude of about 400 metres above sea level. Ofena is located on the slopes of the Gran Sasso massif, in a mountain valley traditionally known as “the oven of Abruzzo”. Thanks to the extraordinary solar exposure and to high variations in temperature, as well as the specific character of the soil, the area is particulary suited for viticulture. Montepulciano has been cultivated since ancient times, and production received further impulse at the end of the 16th century when Francesco de’ Medici, grand-duke of Toscana, pushed for intensification of wine production in this area.
The vineyards presently comprise more than 27 hectares, seven of which date back to the 1968 plantings, whereas the others were more recently replanted. The grape varieties are: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, and the local Pecorino. For all these different grapes the yields per hectare are very contained.