We headed out of Fermo and literally just passed the old town walls when we had to turn into a quiet lane that led us straight to the winery. The Cantina Ortenzi is located in a beautiful setting with wonderful views all around. Even before we tasted the wine, the inebriated hills eased us into a warm sense of hospitality.

One of the co-oweners, Christian, came out to meet us and show us around. The vines were sloping down in a southerly direction and more were being planted in order to expand production. 

Amos, Falerio-Pecorino, La Cantina Ortenzi 

Named after the Hebrew word that describes one who loves to make things, the Amos is a lovely golden colour.

Aromas of apricot, honey, acacia. As we waited, the wine continued to display new characteristics, including hints of butterscotch.

It is rich with good acidity, giving it good length. I would love to enjoy a bottle with local truffle and mushroom risotto.

We also tasted the red wine here which is also delicious.

Rosso Piceno, Baruc (Hebrew for Benedict)

This is an easy to drink wine with aromas  of raspberries and blackcurrants and then a second, more delicate layer of rose petals. There are hints of oak but it not overdone. The DOC rules that all wine rosso piceno wine must have at least 12 months in oak. This wine has been aged for 2 years before it is deemed ready for serving. this means the flavours are well integrated and drinking this wine leaves you feeling very warm and satisfied. What could be better?

For a food pairing, I would suggest either: antipasti of cold meets and vegetables, or rich gamey meats cooked with local Marche herbs. The food here is exceptional, so it is great that the wines are getting the recognition that they deserve too. So many matches made in heaven!

web: http://www.cantinaortenzi.it/

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Winemaker and owner Nicola D’Auria greeted us at the entrance of this fascinating cantina. The winery and cellars have been designed by Rocco valentini in the shape of a vertical barrel in order to immerse the tasters senses in wine.


East from Roma to Abruzzo

From Rome we headed east to Abruzzo, a region of Italy that rises up like a burly landlord to greet the traveller. The Apennine mountains at their tops are stark and beautiful, lonely, yet fulsome. Rustic doesn’t quite do this landscape justice. It’s a place for pilgrims, peace lovers and, of course, we followers of Bacchic and gastronomic pleasure.


After days of picking grapes in one of the world’s most famous wine regions, the pickers get together to drink, chat and enjoy the drinks they are meticulously involved in the making of. 

Also check out local winemaker, Nico’s, top tip for a white Burgundy from Saint Aubin that you don’t have to travel to Burgundy to get!


What started in El Quatre Gats tapas bar in Barcelona, soon became an adventure in the Marche region of Italy, that lies along the east coast facing Albania across the Adriatic Sea. El Quatre Gats is famously where Picasso had his first solo exhibition as a young edgy artists in the Catalan capital and I was there dining with Dr Pia Casarini Wadhams, Director of Italy’s only Polar Institute, Il Polo.


The Palazzo is located in the centre of Fermo, a small Roman hilltop town with a rich history dating back to antiquity. Flying from abroad, Ancona is the closest airport, 67km north (about an hours drive) along the coast of the Adriatic sea.