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An Abruzzo Pioneer Dies

Gianni Masciarelli helped bring modern winemaking to his region

Jo Cooke
Posted: August 7, 2008

One of southern Italy's leaders in premium winemaking, Gianni Masciarelli, died July 31 in a clinic in Munich, Germany, after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage. He was 52.

Masciarelli was a pioneer wine producer in his native region of Abruzzo, who sought to raise the quality and reputation of the local grape varieties, the red Montepulciano d'Abruzzo and the white Trebbiano d'Abruzzo.

"Gianni had a great passion for his work," said Riccardo Cotarella, one of Italy's best-known consulting enologists and a friend of Masciarelli's. "He succeeded in dragging winemaking in Abruzzo into the modern era. He was also a very humane person. He will be sadly missed."

Masciarelli's estate in the town of San Martino sulla Marrucina included nearly 1,000 acres of vineyards, producing over 250,000 cases of wine each year.

His wines included the regular Montepulciano d'Abruzzo and Trebbiano d'Abruzzo, the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Villa Gemma and the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Marina Cvetic, named after his Serbian wife, Marina.

Masciarelli leaves his wife, two daughters, Miriam and Chiara Ludovica, and an 8-month-old son, Riccardo.

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