Now the Wine Anarchists knowledge of the wines of Le Marche was fairly limited before this trip. He still remembered the Verdicchio di Castelli di Jesi wines of the 1990's in fish-shaped bottles, suggesting they'd go particular well with fish. In most cases that was only the case if the fish tasted of nothing much either... He had tasted the odd Rosso Piceno too, which was quite pleasant and discovered that the Verdicchio grape in the right hands has the potential to produce some of the better white wines in Italy.
In his quest to find out more, the Wine Anarchist chose two wineries in striking distance to where he was staying near the Umbrian border, based on recommendations by the Gambero Rosso guide and the 'Guida Ufficiale del Movimento Turismo del Vino'. Being as he is, he failed to announce his visit to said wineries, which resulted in some disappointment as far as being able to taste the wines on site.
The first visit was in the small village of Barbara to the winery named after if: Santa Barbara:
Winemaker Stefano Antonucci works miracles at this winery, producing wines of real character and power. It was set up in 1965 on the northern edge of the Verdiccio di Castello Jesi DOC area. Whilst the area is famous for white wines, this wineries real strength lies in their reds. Their top of the range is 'Il Maschio da Monte' (the Male of the Mountain'), a Montepulciano matured for 18 months in French barrique and regularly featuring amongst the 3 glass awards of the Gambero Rosso Guide to Italian wines.
Unfortunately when The Wine Anarchis arrived unannounced, they were having a bit of a staff shortage as a the lady normally conducting tastings had called in sick that morning... So they suggested he should take a little tasting case with him and taste the wines at leasure at home to get an impression of the wines. So he did, passing on the high price of the Maschio da Monte though at a hefty €35 a bottle. Now him and his family have finally got around tasting the wines and this was the result:
- 'Pignocco' Verdiccio di Castelli Jesi DOC 2010
- Stefano Antonucci 'Le Vaglie' Verdiccio di Castelli Jesi Classico 2012
- SensuaDe Rosato Marche IGT NV
The nose on this gorgeous wine reveals overripe peaches and pears as well as pomegranate and dark cherry notes; on the palate there is a slight hint of CO2 freshining up things nicely. There are oodles of ripe fruit, aromatic rose petal notes, sweet strawberry and a long slightly herbal finish (rosemary was suggested by Conspiracy Cousin). Whilst displaying sweet fruit it is completely dry with a decent body for a rosé. After swilling it around the glass for a good while, finally the Moscato shows through too. A lovely wine that would do very nicely with chicken or braised lamb at cellar temperature. €8.80
- 'Pignocco' Marche Rosso IGT 2011
- San Bartolo Marche Rosso IGT 2010
- Stefano Antonucci Marche Rosso IGT 2010
The second winery the Wine Anarchist visited that day was just 5km down the road just outside the village of Ostra Vetere,
the Azienda Vinicola Bucci.
Now they are better known for their excellent white wine, although their reds aren't bad either. Their Verdicchio di Castelli Jesi has won 3 glass awards in the Gambero Rosso Guide 10 times and won the Best White Wine of the Year Award in 2005. This winery has been in existence since 1700 or so, so they should know what they are doing. Unlike Santa Barbara they concentrate their efforts on just 4 wines: a 'basic' white and red and a riserva each. Since 2002 they have started cultivating their 14 hectares under vine organically, although they are not certified. All riserva wines are aged in large oak barrels as to not to distract from the real taste of the terroir. Gambero Rosso claims that their riserva Verdiccio is as close as you will get to the perfect example of this grape. This time the Wine Anarchist and his wife (and dog) were welcomed warmly for a tasting, although due to the slightly iffy weather conditions a visit to the vineyards was postponed to next time they'd be in the area.
- Bucci Verdicchio di Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore 2011
- Villa Bucci Riserva Verdiccio di Castelli di Jesi Classico 2008
- Tenuta Pongelli Rosso Piceno DOC 2010
- Villa Bucci Rosso Piceno Riserva DOC 2008
I bought a few bottles to re-taste and will update this post with more detailed tasting notes when I get around.
After that exhausting morning of wine tasting we retired for lunch at the excellent trattoria Maria in nearby Mondavio. It's a little bit of the way, but in his quest to taste some more local flavours, the Wine Anarchist ordered a bottle of 'Ciprea' Offida DOC Pecorino 2010 from Poderi Capecci in San Savino