Ascoli Piceno is a town bang on the border of Marche and Abruzzo (coincidentally this is where we procure the chest canvassing for our suits! Cool huh!?). The origin controlled reds of the area are called 'Rosso Piceno' and are made of the varieties Montepulciano and Sangiovese primarily, and a few other bits and bobs if you like. The 'DOP Superiore' versions like this one have the luxury of a year's slumber in barrel for their ample intensification, so these batches tend to attract the better grapes of the harvest.
This slice of the Adriatic coast is famously amicable to growing just about everything... really well. The climate is sunny, consistent and moderate, almost lazy. The hills are rollicking and storybook. I'd imagine anything grown here would be worth eating or drinking. It's historically revered in the same way too. I loaned a bottle of this wine to a fantastically learned client (which he drank accordingly, and relished) who later pointed out to me that in the particularly unfavorable winter of 218-217 BCE (during the Punic Wars; Carthage v Rome.... a real 'banger'!) Hannibal, camped at the naturally abundant Piceno area so his troops could forage. There he laundered his ailing horses in locally plundered vino rosso Piceno to cure their 'scab' (scurvey). "Basta! (Bingo!), it worked! Top drop!" he announced (I imagine...). Sadly for Hannibal, he had his last blast just over the Appenines at Lake Trasimeno. Don't drink and drive they say.
At circa $35 this has obscenely good oompf. It's tart, sappy, dense, centred and tastes like plum skins and currants. It's also a little peppery and faintly liquorice like. I can't detect the oak except maybe for a faint waxiness. It's not complex, but it feels fantastic. The alcohol is low so it's not cumbersome. I could imagine it's great with succulent porchetta, but I had it with some rice crackers which was all that was in the cupboard after work. Mneh...
(PS if it means anything to you, this wine is also 'Vini biologica' which implies low sulfite levels, yet it shows no obvious signs of faultiness, where many others in its ilk do)