11 – 12 June: Vineyards and beaches of Le Marche

Author: Mrs A (yes, again, Mr A having a break!)

Location: Loro Piceno and Porto San Georgio , Le Marche, Italy

Tuesday: After all the birthday celebrations the night before it was a slow start to the day, mostly spent in the pool clearing the heads. We had a delicious lunch and then piled into the cars to visit one of the many vineyards nearby.

The one Barney and Mel had selected was one of the grandest around, with amazing buildings housing artwork and incredible sculptures. Il Pollenza is a relatively young winery, having been growing grapes in the region for just 20 years, but in that time they have built up quite an estate of renovated 16th and 18th century houses and 70 hectares of vineyards.

Driving up to the estate is quite a contrast to what you might see in Australian wine districts, with no signage advertising the vineyard or tasting. In fact it was lucky we had Mel navigating otherwise we would not have found it at all! The tasting had been booked in advance and included a tour of the cellars and bottling facility.

Beautiful vineyards set amongst the Macerata Hills
One of the many mansions on the 270 acre estate
Renovated 16th century building where the wine is cellared and bottled

Count Brachetti-Peretti bought the vineyard as a hobby, but clearly is extremely well off. This hobby is treated fairly seriously and he has invested in the best of everything. You can literally see the quality in all of the renovated buildings and equipment as you tour around.

Carefully temperature controlled barrels
Learning more about the processes

Bottles ready to be boxed up
Catriona is tempted by a pretty label

We tasted four wines, none of which suited our palettes, nor our wallets. When we compare the quality of the wine to that which we tasted at Murola at around half the price, we decided not to buy anything we had tried.

Our first tasting is poured

Karen and Catriona taking the tasting very seriously

We left with a bottle of Rosata Prosecco.

The girls colour coordinated without any planning!

…and here we have a lovely bronze horse statue!

Wednesday: It was time to have our first experience of the Adriatic Sea as we left the beautiful countryside and drove for lunch at the coast, aiming for Porto San Giorgio, a coastal settlement. One of Mel and Barney’s English neighbours had recommended Ristorante Chalet Quadrifoglio to eat at.

It is one of many restaurants along the coast, set behind the sandy beaches, specialising in seafood (though offering a handful of alternatives for the non fish eaters).

We had an absolute feast, choosing a starter of mixed hot and cold seafood, which kept on coming. Once we had consumed mussels, olive fish cakes, grilled razor shell, scallops, anchovies and more we were quite full, and still had the main dish to come!

A glass or two of white wine was consumed

Lots of stories and laughter accompanied our seafood feast

Barney and Mel
Our waitress serving up a local speciality, Monkfish – delicious

After lunch we wandered down the the water’s edge. Unlike Australian beaches which stretch along bay after bay, often deserted, those here are full of sun beds and umbrellas which you pay to use – giving you access to toilets, showers and changing rooms. It really made us appreciate our local beach in Sydney!

We had to experience the water of course, which at around 24 degrees was refreshing and rather lovely for a jump in the waves.

Catriona and John are surprised by a wave crashing into them from behind…oops, did I not mention it was coming?!
Stuart and Karen head for shallower water so they don’t get unexpectedly wet
Our lovely hosts looking very summery
And Mr & Mrs A
Catriona and Stuart are first into the water
Looking north up the beach

We had a good hour down at the water before heading on back to Loro Piceno via Murola Vineyard to stock up on supplies.

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