The Ciavolich family traces its roots to wool merchants in Bulgaria. Around 1560, some of the family took refuge in Abruzzo to escape Saracen invaders. The family’s wine business started in 1853, when Francesco Ciavolich built a winery in Miglianico, which is now one of the oldest still standing in Abruzzo. Their landholdings grew thanks to a fortuitous marriage alliance with the Vicini family, who were local nobility, at the end of the 19th century. In 1943, the German army took over the family home as their general headquarters, allowing the Ciavolichs to live in the underground winery beneath the house. In December of that year the family was forced out completely when the Germans took over the winery as an air raid shelter, ending the use of the old winery for production.
Today, Chiara Ciavolich produces wine from three vineyards. The first, in Loreto Aprutino, is the legacy land from the Ciavolich-Vicini marriage, comprising about 35 hectares. Chiara grows Montepulciano, Trebbiano, Passerina, Pecorino, and Cociocciola grapes there. There’s a second vineyard of about 15 hectares in Pianella, producing Montepulciano and Pecorino. These lands are the primary sources of grapes for wines bearing the Ciavolich label. The third was left to Chiara by her aunt, Giuliana Vicini. Giuliana had wanted to be a winemaker, but social conventions of the time made it impossible. Chiara started a separate label named for Giuliana a few years ago. These are more everyday wines. There’s a third wine label, called Fosso Cancelli, which Chiara uses for wines with no added yeast, and produced with some ancient farming and fermentation techniques. All of Chiara’s wines are certified sustainable by SQNPI, a national Italian agricultural certification.
Passerina is an indigenous grape found primarily in Le Marche and Abruzzo. Legend has it that the name Passerina comes from the word Passero, or sparrow. Apparently these birds have a voracious appetite for the grapes that came to be called Passerina. (As you’ll see with Ciavolich Aries Pecorino, that’s not the only grape varietal that appeals to animals…) It’s on the acidic side, with a lemony, citrus flavor. Very bright, and a natural pairing with many foods.
||Dry White Wine
||Colline Pescaresi IGP
||Chiara Ciavolich Azienda Agricola
Altitude: 250 m.a.s.l.
Farming Method: Integrated Fight
Training Method: Cordon – Double Guyot
Year of Implantation: 2011
Yield per Hectare: 12.000 kg per Ha
Grilled fish and poultry, light pasta dishes, salads, mild cheeses