THE ABRUZZI AND MOLISEEdoardo Valentini passed away in the spring of 2006. Thoughts fly to him whenever talk turns to Abruzzo wine lore, for Edoardo embodied, passionately, tenderly and devotedly, the vintnereuros world and way of life his only world and only life, and he laboured to the limits of endeavour and endurance. Because hollow rhetoric always lurks in ambush for those who would write about matters subtle and sensitive, let it be known, simply and without embroidery, that he leaves behind an unfillable void. We like to smile even now as we remember warmly the lovely day in early July when we wandered among the rows of his vines and roamed through the vineyards of Loreto Aprutino aboard the Jeep of driven by his son Francesco, heart-warmingly aware of Edoardoeuros presence in spirit. The extraordinary wines of the last two years at Trebbiano and Montepulciano bear witness to his exceptional arts, crafts and energies and, perhaps most to his honour, to his determination to press on with his vision of the purity and nobility of wine.A significant assessment of the oenological health of the Abruzzi is not easily made, all the less so now that the Montepulcianos from the very hot 2003 vintage is reaching the market. Two years ago we announced the end of the danger that experimentation with flashy new models strong on extractive power might lead to an abandonment of uniformity and quality control, but now we may have to backtrack on that. Our first impressions are those of inky, overripe and overly alcoholic reds, often devoid of any liveliness of flavour, but leteuros put as good a light on that as we may and see what we find convincing. Confirmed are the earthy vitality of Enzo Pasqualeeuros Riserva, the tangy savouriness of Casa Faraoneeuros whites, and Adriana Agalassoeuros and Fausto Albanesieuros ever more notable Torre dei Beati, which presents a set of three Montepulciano deuroAbruzzo of unsuspected floral delicacy a praiseworthy quality that swims against the prevailing current style. Moreover, there is good news about several Montepulcianos of better vintages, among them those of Rocco Rapino and of Enzo De Lucaeuros estate, Fattoria Licia. Bear in mind also that Stefania Pepe, the ever-bustling daughter of Emidio.