Vines, winemakers and great wines all flourish from strong roots. Still in his 30s, Fabio Di Donato’s roots are strong. He was born in his valley, at the foot of a historic pass, halfway between the most impressive mountains of Abruzzo and over 20 miles in from the coast with the chill impact of the peaks felt in the changing seasons. Fabio started Cingilia in 2013, fresh from a degree in oenology at Pescara, with 4 hectares first acquired by his grandparents a century ago, with additions of both older parcels and his own younger plantings. His time is spent mostly working and nurturing his organic vineyards, many of them classic, high-trained pergola Abruzzese. The wines are made in the converted garage at his home. Wild yeasts, minimal additions and gentle basket presses exemplify the hand at work here, allowing the grapes to speak of themselves and their footing.The name Cingilia itself alludes to an ancient name for local town Civitella Casanova, mentioned by Roman historian Livy as home to the Vestini people, in confilict with Rome in 325BC.
The range includes no more than 4,000 bottles each of Pecorino, Cococciola & Passerina from his younger plantings, simply fermented and aged on fine lees in steel, and a tiny 700 bottles from 1/3 hectare of 45 year old Trebbiano Abruzzo. The bottle fermented Cococciola is left on its lees in bottle in the Col Fondo style. The Cerasuolo Rosato is from his young red Montepulciano vines with older vines providing the 5,000 bottles of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, again all stainless steel. Minimal additions cloak the quality of this fruit.
"One of the questions I ask nearly every producer is if there are any winemakers within their own region that are doing things that they believe are inspiring or exciting. In Abruzzo, the answer was Cingilia, Cingilia, Cingilia. With that said, I knew I had to pay a visit to Fabio Di Donato and his small, garage-styled winery in Cugnoli…..I can’t wait to see how this winery evolves as Donato works to slowly increase production to meet a growing demand."
Eric Guido, Vinous, August 2022