The vineyards of the Illuminati family are located between Controguerra and Neretto in the northern part of the province of Teramo, between the Apennine chain and the Adriatic Sea at an altitude of 1000 feet above sea level. At the end of the 19th century Nicola Illuminati founded the Fattoria Nicò winery, which now, a century later, is directed by his grandson Dino with the aid and assistance of wife and children. Total vineyard surface is 275 acres, with an annual production of 1.2 million bottles of fine overall quality. The story of this firm has unquestionably been a stimulus for other producers of the region, habituated until recently to the sale of their grapes to others who used them to produce blending wine for other regions in less successful vintages. Thanks to its pioneering work of the Illuminati, who developed an entire production cycle from grapes to the bottle, the oenology of the Abruzzo is well considered both in Italy and abroad. The two major crus of the house are both Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane Riserva DOCG, and Pieluni has been particularly appreciate and given important recognition. The harvest for this wine is a late one and is carried out by hand during the last ten days of October. The grapes are destemmed, pressed softly, and then fermented in stainless steel tanks at temperatures of 84-86° Fahrenheit. After twenty days of skin contact and at the end of the alcoholic fermentation, the wine goes through a malolactic fermentation, then racked and aged for two years in small oak barrels. After bottling it is given a further 14-15 months of bottle ageing in natural grottoes in order to bring out all of the power, structure, and complexity of its personality. The other cru is the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Doc Riserva Zanna, produced only in superior vintages. The Zanna vineyard is situated on hills to the right of the Tronto river as it descends towards the Adriatic Sea, at 950 feet above sea level in the township of Controguerra. The local climate is mild and the grapes are trained in an overhead system with 400 vines per acre. These are among the last grapes to be picked: after a rigorous thinning of the crop and a careful selection of the bunches, the grapes are destemmed, pressed, and fermented in stainless steel tanks at a maximum temperature of 86° Fahrenheit. The wine is then racked into Slavonian oak casks for an aging period of 24-26 months.