Verdicchio Castelli di Jesi – Colonnara “Cuprese” 2004
Verdicchio is not your typical white wine. It is not for everyone. It has greater structure than many reds and a distinct flavor. Verdicchio is particular, in some ways similar to Vermentino, a wine lover’s wine. Just like Vermentino, this heirloom wine is particularly indicated for the hearty flavors of its origin. Verdicchio is from the Marche, it is not clear whether the Marchigiani or il Verdicchio arrived first but they are soul mates.
Verdicchio is grown only in a very small area in the Marche. The region is called Castelli di Jesi between Ancona and Macerata. The land is rich and fertile, the climate mild and most importantly a constant sea breeze caresses the vineyards. It is this last characteristic that makes it impossible to produce Verdicchio in any other area, limiting the vineyards to this very small region. The gentle breeze continuously dries the grapes eliminating the humidity that would inhibit the grapes from maturing.
The limited area of production makes this wine a rare jewel in the world of industrial wine production. Its size requires a passionate winemaker and a good growing season to make a great wine. The winegrowers of the Marche are some of the best, traditions passed down from generation to generation, continuing to produce good wines even in the years where the rest of the industry, as a whole suffered. Verdicchio has developed to accentuate the savory foods of the Marche. Local specialties include Seafood, Mushrooms, Tartufo, Fresh Pasta, Aged Cheeses, Wild Game and Fowl. It is a smorgasbord of hearty, marvelous dishes and Verdicchio’s robust structure can accompany just about anything. It is also one of the few white wines that can age even several years making this wine a fantastic stalwart of any cellar.
Several years ago I had the privilege of meeting Massimiliano Latini, owner of the Colonnara vineyards just outside of Ancona. Although they have a restaurant in the Agriturismo we had a private dinner with some friends from Senigallia. At that time I did not know Verdicchio, even in Italy it has rather limited distribution. A dinner with Tortelli in Brodo, Pheasant, and some local cheeses, were accompanied by an intensely hay yellow wine served extremely cold, about 10 c. The bouquet was intense of mature fruit, cut flowers and hint of Almonds. The taste was dry, exceptionally dry, for a white wine, with a strong finish of Almond.
Verdicchio is a good solution from appetizer to cheese, obviously great with everything in between, but I believe this wine’s true calling is with fish, say Rombo or a Surf and Turf.
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