Ferzo Cococciola Terrre Di Chieti IGP 2017, Italy
Cost: $25-27
Q uick, when’s the last time you had a wine made from the Cococciola grape? Before this week I would have said never.
It’s another one of those many varietals that grow in Italy that American wine drinkers never hear about. And that’s a shame, because this is a wonderful wine. The Ferzo Cococciola has just been introduced to the American market.
It is a pale straw yellow in the glass, with citrus aromas. It is a well-balanced wine, with citrus, floral and apricot flavors balanced by a bright acidity.
The Cococciola (pronounced Ko-Ko-Chee-Oh-La) grape is native to the east coast of southern Italy, specifically Abruzzo and northern Puglia in the province of Chieti.  It is a green-skinned grape that produces straw-colored wine with pronounced acidity and grassy, herbaceous aromas comparable to those found in sauvignon blanc. But the flavors are not as sharp as a sauvignon blanc. It is somewhat more mellow.
It has traditionally been used as a blending grape due to its ability to produce balanced wines, but it is now found more and more in varietal wines produced and sold under Abruzzo’s various IGT titles.
The estate is owned by Codice Citra and was founded in 1973. The average age of the vines in the 20-acre vineyard is 25 years. They produce about 109,000 bottles a year.
The wine ferments for 10-12 days and then is aged for three months in stainless steel tanks.
“Ferzo,” in Italian refers to a patch of fabric that, when stitched together with others, creates a sail.  The union of the finest viticultural “patches” in Abruzzo gives life to Ferzo, a distinctive line of wines which embody the best of the region’s indigenous grape varieties and individual terroirs.  
The vineyards that source Ferzo Cococciola are found in the rolling hills that stretch between the Adriatic Sea and the Appenine Mountains.  A gentle pressing and cool, stainless steel fermentation allow for the preservation of primary aromas. 
Codice Citra wines are estate grown and bottled from a collection of family-owned vineyards in the lush and various microclimates of Abruzzo’s Chieti province. Passed down from generation to generation, these families maintain small vineyards, some just two acres, with passion and personal care.
Since its founding, Codice Citra has focused on cultivating quality, indigenous grape varieties from the well-known Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Trebbiano d’Abruzzo to the more esoteric Pecorino, Passerina, and Cococciola. The Codice Citra portfolio includes four ranges of wines, which together showcase the quality and potential of Abruzzo.
From the sea into the mountains, climate and terrain vary a great deal. Cool air from both the mountains and the sea accounts for excellent diurnal temperature swings, beneficial for the region’s two dozen species of olives as well as for Abruzzo’s grapevines. The gently tannic red Montepulciano grape is king here, accounting for two thirds of production, followed by the two whites Trebbiano and Pecorino, which together account for another quarter. Cooperatives make 80 percent of Abruzzo’s wine.
We had this wine with chicken stir fry, one of my go-to meals. The stir fry is spicy, so the wine has to have some body to stand up to it, but not too much, or the flavors would clash.
Cococciola’s firmness holds up against firm-fleshed seafood and its distinctive minerality and citrus aromas compliment delicate flavors. Try Ferzo Cococciola with seared scallops, or grilled fish, steamed or fried shrimp or spinach and bacon wrapped in pasta.   This wine also would be good as an aperitif.
If you have questions about wine you can email Dennis Sodomka at dennis@bottlereport.com

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