Flashcards in Marche Deck (17)
Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC
Most commonly seen DOC. Dry white wine, ranges of styles from light and fresh to rich and complex. Flavours of herbs.
Montepulciano grape grown near Ancona. Wine is full bodied, deep coloured but only medium tannin.
Name used for several, unrelated Italian grape varieties, mainly white but sometimes red, vernaculus meaning ‘native’ or ‘indigenous’ in Latin. These vary from the extreme north of the peninsula (vernatsch being merely a Germanic version of Vernaccia) to the fizzy red Vernaccia di Serrapetrona of the marche made from the vine variety known locally and in Umbria as Vernaccia Nera which is actually grenache, Vernaccia di Pergola which is a southern Italian synonym for aleatico, and vernaccia di oristano, which is an almost sherry-like Sardinian varietal. The most highly regarded form is the dry white Tuscan varietal vernaccia di san gimignano. Wines called Vernaccia, or sometimes vernage, are often cited in the records of London wine merchants in the Middle Ages, but the term could have been used for virtually any sort of wine, Latin being the common language then. Vernaccia was a particularly common product of liguria in north-west Italy and Tuscany. For more details of medieval trade in Vernaccia, see genoa, italy, and tuscany.
One of central Italy’s classic white wines, is produced from the Verdicchio grape in two doc zones of its home territory (since at least the 14th century) of the marche: Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, to the west of Ancona and a mere 30 km/20 miles from the Adriatic Sea, and the much smaller Verdicchio di Matelica zone, considerably further inland and at higher elevations, close to the regional border with umbria. The best wines are cool with minerally mandarin fruit, lifted lemony acidity, and a slight chew on the finish. The finest can age ten or more years. Verdicchio di Matelica, with marginally lower yields and better exposed hillside vineyards, was for long supposed to produce fuller, more characterful wine but this is no longer a given, since average yields in Castelli di Jesi have decreased to a sensible 65 hl/ha. Matelica’s 300 ha/750 acres are dwarfed by the 2,762 ha/6,822 acres of the Castelli di Jesi, Marche’s largest doc and one which makes no distinction between vineyards on plains and the hills, with the exception of the much smaller historic Classico zone in the hills near the town of Cupano. Here several small producers produce complex wines, often from single vineyards. Under their initiative a start was made in the early 2010s to identify subzones based on exposition, elevation, and soil composition. Close to 60% of the production of the Castelli di Jesi DOC is controlled by co-operatives, and négociant houses control most of the remaining 40%. The wine’s fame was largely due to the efforts of Fazi-Battaglia, a large négociant firm with extensive vineyard holdings. It was Fazi-Battaglia which introduced the amphora-shaped bottle and scroll-shaped label, initially a positive factor in gaining recognition for the wine but later responsible for the image of kitsch and frivolity with which Verdicchio has been saddled. Like many central Italian white wines, Verdicchio was once fermented on its skins, giving it a certain fullness and authority but most Verdicchio is now made in a modern style, without skin contact and with temperature-controlled fermentations, although some are returning to traditional methods. Perhaps partly because of its high natural acidity, Verdicchio can also produce fine passito wines while it was one of the first Italian spumantes, with a tradition which can be traced back to the middle of the 19th century. Pleasant bottles of bubbly Verdicchio remain an integral part of the DOC production. Two DOCGs were created in 2011: Castelli di Jesi Verdicchio Riserva and Verdicchio di Matelica Riserva, for wines aged for at least 18 months before release. Bucci, La Distesa, La Moncesca, Pievalta, San Lorenzo, as well as the Colonnara co-operative all provide ample evidence of Verdicchio’s capacity for ageing.
Verdicchio, the grape
The Verdicchio grape has been in the Marche for centuries but it has recently been established as identical to trebbiano di Soave, Trebbiano di Lugana, and Trebbiano Veltenesi. In soave it can add perfume to the steely garganega while further west, on its own in a warmer zone, it gives full-bodied lugana of real interest. The 2010 Italian vine census found a total of 2,838 ha/7,000 acres of Verdicchio in Italy, of which more than 2,300 ha/5,681 acres were in the Marche. A further 2,226 ha of Trebbiano di Soave is also recorded.
Le Marche is best known for Verdicchio but has many DOCs unknown even in Italy
Home to Mondavi’s family who emigrated in the 20s to the US to build their empire from the 1960s
Marche: Climate and Weather
Hot & dry summers overall but more Continental north of Ancona and Mediterranean in the south near Ascoli Piceno
Marche: Typography and Soils
From East-West: Coastal plains along the Adriatic, rolling hills to the foothills of the Apennines
Calcareous soils & Mediterranean vegetation
Buds early & slow to ripen; vigorous grape
Naturally low in anthocyanins so tendency towards lighter colour and hi acidity (esp. if yields
Does not perform as well here as in Tuscany
(partly due to wetter climate
Promising red grape
Tendency to ripen late & excessively ‘green’ if
harvested too early
Produces deep-coloured wine with medium to hi
tannins, medium acidity, medium+ alcohol and body
Marche: Other Red Grapes
Lacrima, Cabernet, Syrah, Merlot
Long cultivated native grape (since 14th)
Very high acidity from generic fresh lemon/green
apple notes to herbal and almond flavours
Still, sparkling & passitos
Marche: Other White Grapes
Trebbiano, Biancame (local grape used for Bianchello del Metauro DOC)
Marche: Viticulture and Winemaking
o19,000ha (//Friuli-Venezia Giulia) for 1.9m hl/yr – 17% DOC
- The fermentation on its skins and/or w Governo technique (i.e. addition of dried grapes after 1st fermentation to trigger 2nd fermentation) to add sweetness and CO2 have been abandoned
Whites (62% of production)
- Long cultivated native grape (since 14th)
- Very high acidity from generic fresh lemon/green
apple notes to herbal and almond flavours
- Still, sparkling & passitos
Others: Trebbiano, Biancame (local grape used for Bianchello del Metauro DOC)
Nowadays, the wine is made in a modern style i.e. no skin contact, temperature-controlled fermentation for light to medium fruity wines. Some use of barrel-fermented wines now appearing (e.g. Bisci)
Rosso Conero DOCG (R)
On the slopes of the 572m high Monte Conero on the coast between Ancona & Sirolo
Min 85%Montepulciano w Sangiovese to complement; min 11.5%abv (Riserva 12.5%abv & min 2yrs ageing) oDeep ruby, dry, full bodied, tannic wines with slightly bitter finish e.g. Garofoli’s Angontano.
Verdicchio di Castelli di Jesi (W)
Largest Verdicchio area going from the coast of Ancona to the foothills of the Monte Pennino o 60% of production controlled by cooperatives and 30% by négociants
Fazi Battaglia w 3m bottles who initiated the Amphora-shaped bottle created by Milanese marketers in the 60s and now synonym w Verdicchio all over the world
Umani Ronchi: 4.5m btls/yr; also produces top reds