Discussions of the relative merits of regional wines were always intense during a gathering of Romans, connoisseurs or otherwise, and not always complimentary. The satirist Martial was relentless in his criticism of wines from the Mount Vatican region that lay beyond Rome's northwestern city limits:
"Should a god himself debit me with nectar, it would turn to vinegar and the treacherous flat content of a Vatican jar." (Epigrams XII.48)
and, though Pliny expressed mild respect for the wines from the Ravenna region of the northeast coast of the Adriatic, Martial berated them as well:
"I would rather have a cistern at Ravenna than a vineyard, since I could sell water at a much better price." (Epigrams III.56)
Wines from Etruria also were not to Roman taste;
"You mix Veientan for me and serve Massic for yourself. I had rather smell these cups than drink." (Epigrams III.49);
nor were those from the Sabine hills (see EpigramsX.49).