When I arrive in the port of Pescara, a bustling urban center on the Adriatic's golden coast, my first stop is Taverna 58, a bastion of traditional Abruzzan cooking. The owner is a dapper, white-haired gentleman named Giovanni Marrone, who greets customers with a friendly, reserved demeanor. He assures me that the best way to sample various facets of la tradizione is by getting a tasting menu. He starts by sending out arrosticini, a local specialty of flame-grilled mutton skewers, followed by charcuteries and terrines, all of which pair splendidly with a Montepulciano d'Abruzzo by the legendary winemaker Emidio Pepe. Older vintages of Pepe's wines are the ones more likely to make their way to the U.S., fetching hundreds of dollars per bottle, but one of the joys of coming to Italy is that Pepe sells young vintages of his earthy, bold, untamed wine in abundance here, and at much lower prices.