Gianni Masciarelli

Gianni Masciarelli, who died in 2008, and his wife Marina Cvetic have been among the shining beacons of Abruzzo. For years, this beautiful land, with its abundance of sun, great soil and the easy-to-grow Montepulciano grape, had produced vats of cheap, simple wines. Gianni, along with his inspiration, the reclusive genius Edoardo Valentini, proved to the rest of the world, through hard work, low yields, and a desire to be the best, that Abruzzo and the Montepulciano grape could produce world-class wines.

Over the years, his limited production wines have reached an exalted, cult status. The Cerasuolo is a delicious pearly-pink wine, refreshingly uncomplicated, just damn refreshing, liquid testimony to the importance of not being earnest. To be drunk al fresco, with garlicky fish soup or with a plate of mixed salamis.