In Ortona in the Abruzzo region, Farnese is a virtual synonym for wine ever since the day, in 1538, when Margaret of Austria, married to a Farnese prince, decided to retire from court life and construct, right in this spot, the splendid Farnese palace. During this period the city lived in splendour and all of its activities received a new stimulus, in particular the cultivation of grapes; the wines were drunk at the banquets of the most important European courts. Farnese wines, a young enterprise of the region which has conquered an important role in major Italian and European markets, is the heir to this story. The firm’s headquarters is in the historic Caldora castle, constructed in the 15th century by military leader Giacomo Caldora to defend the city of Ortona and restored to the splendor of yesteryear. The mission of the house is to give deserved recognition to all of the areas and wines of the Abruzzo region; for this reason it owns vineyards both in the province of Chieti, where the white grape and Sangiovese vineyards are located, and in the province of Teramo where, in the renovated cellars in Roseto degli Abruzzi, are situated the most significant crus of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.
A major example of the philosophy which concentrates its efforts on behalf of native grape varieties is Edizione Cinque, which blends five of these grapes to create the pride of the house. The intention was to invent a wine which expressed the millennia-old traditions of two regions where the firm has invested important resources, Abruzzo and Apulia (where Farnese is involved in Feudi di San Marzano). This “autochthonous” cru is a blend of the Montepulciano and Sangiovese of Abruzzo and the Primitivo, Negroamaro, and Malvasia Nera from Apulia. A deep garnet red, almost impenetrable in tonality, it is very intense and persistent on the nose with notes of cherries, plums, berries, tobacco, and a final toasty sensation. Large in structure, it is warm and soft on the palate with elegant and supple tannins and a long finish of spice and chocolate. Ready upon release, it can age well for another eight to ten years. Best drunk at 64-68° Fahrenheit, it goes extremely well with rich sauces, red meat, and game.