Posted by: tomciocco | June 21, 2011

MATELICA: VERDICCHIO’S HOME IN THE HILLS

A couple of Verdicchio’s cousins  – confusingly known as Trebbiano di Soave, obviously from the Soave zone, and Trebbiano di Lugana from the lakeside Lugana region, are both natives of Italy’s Veneto region. But the Verdicchio grape proper is associated almost exclusively with the Marche. And the lion’s share of the Verdicchio grown in the Marche is from the larger coastal Castello di Jesi zone. This area is flatter and lower in elevation than Matelica which is on average more vertical, and due to its situation further from the sea, is a fair bit cooler as well.

So it should come as no surprise to those of you who are fairly familiar with the character of the Verdicchio grape that the ones raised in Matelica are sometimes referred to as “the Chablis of Italy”, i.e. tightly coiled, minerally, and “nervous” paradoxically with an even more maritime character (this areas is very rich in limestone, and was once undersea) than the fuller, fruitier wines from Castello di Jesi. The Verdicchio grape, for my EUROs, is one of Italy’s greatest, and the ones from Matelica show a unique and particularly sophisticated side of this noble variety.

Dinner consisted of an appetizer of prosciutto e melone (which went especially well with the wine) and then my own take on uova in purgatorio (eggs poached in a thick tomato and spinach sauce) with some nice Italian bread.

Fontezoppa Verdicchio di Matelica 2009

Bright medium gold/green color. The initially shy nose eventually opens out into elegant aromas of hay, minerals, celery, bay leaf, yellow cherry, pear, ginger, and sake. The well-structured, medium full body has a dense core, a lacy texture, and a fresh and pervasive slicing acidity that frames flavors of mixed citrus fruit, sea water, flint, and hazelnut. Finishes with a wonderfully clean bittersweet almond flavor.

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