I have a theory about Italian winemakers. Late on winter nights, over large glasses of red and in front of a warming fire, they sit around and ponder: 'How can we confuse foreign consumers?' The good folk at the House of Umani Ronchi have succeeded admirably in this ambition with their splendid Jorio label. The wine is tremendous, a nicely stirring red at a very reasonable $88 a bottle (from Valdivia, the Italian wine experts, fax: 2873-1246). Nothing confusing about that. But Umani Ronchi is famed as a beacon of the Marche region, hard on the Adriatic Sea. And the jauntily labelled Jorio bears the description 'Montepulciano d'Abruzzo'. Now the famous town of Montepulciano is kilometres away across the Italian peninsula in Tuscany. It has nothing to do with this wine. With fine Italian logic, Montepulciano is also the name of a renowned grape which is mostly grown in the region of Abruzzi, which borders Marche. Confused? Join the club. However, just take a deep drink of this most pleasant red and pour yourself another glass. Who really cares? All that matters, after all, is whether it is a good buy. Jorio is made from that Montepulciano grape and comes from a single vineyard, which produces only 30,000 bottles a year. Aged for a year in small barrels, the fragrant aroma of the grape rises from the glass. It has a distinctive and warm taste. Make sure you open the bottle an hour or so before you plan to drink it and I advise giving it a spell in the refrigerator. Interestingly, the Jorio field is in the small high-altitude village of Guardiagrele, the home hamlet of the poet D'Annunzio. The soil is poor and the vines are pruned sharply. This means a modest harvest in terms of tonnage. But the berries are richly packed with sugar which results in a ripe fruity flavour and 12.5 per cent alcohol. From the same producer and the same importer comes another wine made from the same grapes, this time grown largely in the scenic valley of the Pescara River, which flows into the Adriatic after winding down from the mountains of Abruzzo. This elegant label says simply 'Montepulciano D'Abruzzo' with the heraldic banner of Umani Ronchi. This very swiggable red sells for $68. Sticking with the same theme, there is yet another wine from the same stable, this time called San Lorenzo from the mountainous Rosso Conero region. This sells for $70 and to my mind is the pick of the bunch. It has a deeply hued red colour that borders on purplish black. The taste is surprisingly gentle and smooth. All these wines benefit from a good chill. The San Lorenzo in particular needs to be cool, making a delightful aperitif. It is no surprise that they each go well with oily food, like pastas with rich sauces and roasted meat. I enjoyed the San Lorenzo and the Jorio with ma po dou fu (minced pork and chilli cooked searingly hot and sprinkled over a bed of heated tofu). The wine is strong enough to be overwhelmed by the heavy richness of the cuisine. Umani Ronchi is a sizeable concern, producing more than five million bottles a year. It has pioneered many technological advances in its winery near the Marche region's largest city, Ancona, and owns six vineyards in the area. An old country house in the hill country has been restored as a tasting room where regional wines can be tried. The Marche is a bit off the normal tourist routes of Italy; fortunately, the wines are now on the menu in Hong Kong.