…don’t you love it when visiting a place evokes a half-forgotten tune from memory’s depths to perfectly suit the ambiance of where you’re at…? My most recent example involved a hot sunny day’s wine-tasting at Vasto’s Fontefico Puro Vino, just down the road from Punta Aderci, Groove Armada’s ‘At the River’ (or, depending on your generation, perhaps Patti Page’s ‘Old Cape Cod’) became the accompanying track to my find of the day, a salty Pecorino wine that could accompany fish!
If you have a love of nature and are planning a visit to Abruzzo, to miss out on the little pilgrimage to the Punta Aderci marine park, that sits up from Vasto, borders on sacrilege… I love mountains and Abruzzo’s National Parks, but Abruzzo does have a marine park too with quite exceptional views, back to the Majella Mountains, from where the trabocchi coastline begins.
The small path that leads you up to the park’s highest point is like a distillation of English childhood memories from visits to British beaches and the sea. This little path edged by Sulla that takes you up to the rocky drop which is perhaps Abruzzo’s true coastal gem, where humans have tried to make inroads through its 285 hectares but have fabulously failed. Its dunes sand and pebble beaches are appreciated by birdwatchers, walkers, snorkelers and lovers. It’s a perfect spot for sunbathers that shy away from the more commercial, tourist beaches at Vasto Marina, and on a smaller scale at Chieti’s beaches like Fossacessia. Although I like people watching, I think if I lived in Vasto for my passeggiata I’d head out here instead.
Fontefico Puro Vino is a short 5 minute drive from Punta Aderci across the vineyards that frame the marine park and make for a gorgeous bike ride through early morning if you’re staying at the dog & child friendly Agriturismo Arkadia. 15,000 bottles of wine are produced at this boutique Abruzzo vineyard, which began only in 1996 and has been noted in the 2012 Slow Wine Guide, Vinibuoni & Italian Touring Club Guide, as well as winning the Wine Style Asia Award for their Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC, Il Titinge 2008. Perhaps it’s got something to do with them allowing natural sugars in wines to do their thing and create alcohol rather than cap them, so expect a healthy 13.5% for whites and 14.5%+ for their red wines – just a warning if you’re driving!
It’s always interesting to see the pairings that Abruzzo vineyards offer with their tastings; some I have to be honest are a tad lacking in this department , sad when there are so many incredible local producers to hand and they instead serve up some mass produced cheese and salami from the local supermarket. Emanuele Altieri, the youngest of the three brothers that runs this Vasto cantina made no mistakes by serving a selction of cheeses by organic Scanno master cheese maker Gregorio Rotolo, produced at his Valle Scannese Agriturismo. His Ricotta Scorza Nera shone with the vineyard’s Pecorino 2011, a remarkably soft, subtle Pecorino but which supplied a surprising saltiness which complemented the cheese wonderfully (and gave inspiration for a later Pecorino 2010 purchase).
The biggest selling point was that it was amazing to find a Pecorino that was perfect with fish, for those who are inclined to think solely of Pecorino’s as a aperitif on a summer’s day. Italians love the adjective delicate (delicato), it almost gets overused but is the perfect description for Pecorinos by this Chieti vineyard; we could quite understand when Emanuele informed us of the interest their pecorino had stimulated amongst other Italian wine-makers at a recent wine event!
This morning’s excursion was arranged for us by the Vasto Tour Operator Italia Sweet Italia as part of our 2 day Vasto Hot Spot Tour, part of which we spent learning how to prepare and cook fish on a trabocco. LifeinAbruzzo readers are offered a 10% booking discount by using the code 1026.
That Groove Armada Track