Anthony Rose: 'Le Marche is basically all about verdicchio, the versatile, thirst-quenching variety of white grape'

Its reputation may be founded on its classic reds, but Italy is fast gaining ground for appetising dry whites – and I'm not talking pinot grigio. Halfway between the devilishly good wines of Italy's north and those from the deep blue Mediterranean sea, Le Marche is at the forefront of turning rosso into bianco. The fact that it's in the shadow of neighbouring Tuscany and Umbria makes it all the more intriguing a destination. Le Marche recalls Tuscany with its colourful patchwork of grain, sunflower and olive groves, its wooded hills and valleys bisected by rivers that run from the Apennine backbone to the Adriatic. Yet despite its mile upon mile of beach, its pretty inland cities remain mercifully unspoilt. One such city, the impressive walled city of Jesi, is home to one of Italy's best white wines, verdicchio.

Not forgetting Rosso Conero, the much-improved local red, Le Marche is basically about verdicchio, the white grape variety grown inland of Ancona around Jesi and Matelica. Verdicchio is not just a high-quality grape when it's handled well, but it's also immensely versatile. It's well-known as an everyday thirst-quencher, like Moncaro's crisp, lemony 2008 Verdicchio, £4.99, Waitrose, or Monte Schiavo's 2008 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, £6.99, buy two = £5.99, Majestic. Yet it's capable of producing more stylish dry whites at classico and riserva levels that go wonderfully well with seafood, and then again fuller-bodied and more intensely flavoured wines that have something of the white burgundy or vouvray about them. This is Italy, so there's even a luscious sweet verdicchio made from dried grapes.

Just a tenth of the size of Jesi, Matelica's 300 hectares of clay-soil vineyards in the west close to the Apennines are higher and more mineral than Jesi, and with more of a continental than maritime climate, Matelica tends to produce wines that are more floral, elegant and mineral. Typical of the style is the delicate 2007 La Monacesca Verdicchio di Matelica, £9.99, Waitrose, and fresh, yet opulent 2008 Le Vaglie Verdiccio, £9.99, Booths. In similar vein, Belisario's 2008 Verdicchio di Matelica "Vigneti del Cerro", around £10.99, Fortnum & Mason, Shills of Station Street, Cumbria (01900 826427), Free Run Juice, Newquay (01872 510037), is a delightfully complex style energised by a fine isotonic freshness, while the 2006 Mirum, Verdicchio di Matelica Riserva, £19.50, Berry Bros (0800 280 2440) is a wonderfully intense and classically minerally dry white.

Back in verdicchio's bigger heartland of Jesi Classico are to be found deliciously dry whites such as the stonefruit and apple-laden 2008 Ca'Ruptae Verdicchio Classico Superiore, £8.99, Sainsbury's, and Pievalta's organic 2008 Verdicchio Classico Superiore, £8.99, Vintage Roots (0800 980 4992). Another favourite is the 2008 Verdicchio Classico Superiore, Casal di Serra, Umani Ronchi, around £10.95-£13.50, slurp.co.uk, Carluccio shops, SWIG (0800 272272), Christopher Piper, Devon (01404 814139) Villeneuve Wines, Scotland (01721 722500), a mouthwatering dry white with a lovely richness of flavour. While for the richer style, the powerfully built 2006 Plenio Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Riserva, £14.05-£16.50, slurp.co.uk, agwines.com, Wine Unearthed (01477 537072), is a highly distinctive style halfway between a dry vouvray and a white burgundy. Why drink pinot grigio when you can get so much more from verdicchio? Why, indeed.

anthonyrosewine.com

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - Franchised Main Dealer

    £30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

    Recruitment Genius: Group Sales Manager - Field Based

    £21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Guru Careers: Email Marketing Specialist

    £26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee