As some of you might have noticed, I’ve been on an Italian white wine kick. I’ve been particularly interested in wines made from the verdicchio grape.
“Verdicchio is arguably Italy’s greatest native white grape variety,” Ian D’Agata wrote in his authoritative book “Native Wine Grapes of Italy.” “That statement may come as a surprise to those who have only tried neutral or watery verdicchio wines, at times even bottled in improbable amphora-shaped bottles.”
The quality of Italian white wines in general has shot upward in the last 20 years, and that includes verdicchio. You can still find a fair number of the bad old wines around, but the good ones can be a revelation.
Until recently, I was mostly aware of Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, a large appellation in the coastal region of the Marche. But I’ve recently found wines from a smaller appellation, Verdicchio di Matelica, in the inland hills of the Marche, that I’ve really enjoyed.
So this month we’re going to taste Verdicchio di Matelica. Here are the three wines I recommend:
Cantine Belisario Verdicchio di Matelica Le Salse 2018 (PortoVino, Buffalo) $15
Bisci Verdicchio di Matelica 2018 (Skurnik Wines, New York) $16
ColleStefano Verdicchio di Matelica 2019 (Polaner Selections, Mount Kisco, N.Y.) $18
These are all great values. If you cannot find these bottles, you can look for producers from either of the two verdicchio appellations, including La Staffa, Villa Bucci, Pievalta, Garofoli, Fontezoppa, Fattoria San Lorenzo, Velenosi and Umani Ronchi.
These wines will all go great with Italian seafood pastas or pestos, light seafood dishes and poultry in citrus sauces, as well as many summery salad and vegetable preparations.
A word of reminder: The point of Wine School is for you to drink these wines and form your own opinions. I won’t tell you mine in advance. In fact, I’m going to try to be open-minded as I drink them myself. We’ll be back to discuss them in about a month.
As always, chill these, but try not to drink them at ice-cold temperatures. Too cold, and the flaws will be concealed but so will the nuances.