This small region – just 4,167 square miles along the Adriatic Sea – has proven itself excellent for wine production, with a history dating back to the Etruscans, Romans and even the Lombards. To be clear, nothing about Abruzzo is flat: not the landscape and definitely not the wines. In fact, the region is 4% mountainous, 58% coastal hills and 38% internal hills. Enjoying a mostly Mediterranean climate, the west is bordered by the Apennine Mountains, which provides protection from weather influences, while to the east, there is no protection from the weather coming off the sea. The grapes that thrive here include the native red Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, which is so rich and powerful it needs taming, while ancient, local white grapes like Pecorino and Passerina (both saved from extinction; the third major white variety is Trebbiano d’Abruzzo) show unique character and flavors, aromas and intensity. There are 31,960 hectares (79,000 acres) under vine, with 2.7 million hectoliters of wine produced, one DOCG wine and eight DOCs.