Just north of the Abruzzo nestled in the rolling hills behind the walled city of Ascoli Piceno lies the estate of Saladini Pilastri. They are one of the oldest families in the Marche and their 200 hectares includes the usual viticultural suspects (Trebbiano, Sangiovese and Montepulciano) as well as a few Rhône rangers including Viognier and Syrah. All the vineyards are farmed organically which is no hardship given the hot, dry summers. The Falerio is almost too good to be true: lively and full of fruit with more character than one has a right to expect at this price.
It’s lissom and affordable and looks to Trebbiano for inspiration but draws in local talent in the form of Pecorino (just like the cheese) and Passerina. Floral on the nose with apple and a faint herbal note the initial delicacy hides surprising body with healthy acidity and a bitter almond finish. It’s ideal with white meats or fish, and pasta. The Rosso Piceno is 90% Sangiovese and 10% Montepulciano and collects its thoughts in large old oak for a few months prior to bottling. This is more than just quaffing wine par excellence, it seriously over-delivers and takes the battle straight to the heart of Tuscany.