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Wine Community / Vignadelmar | Published DoctorWine N°26
White Marche Wines: Not Just Verdicchio
by Vignadelmar 01-11-2013

Maybe it is just a coincidence, but here I am writing for the first time about Marche wines other than Verdicchio and my bulldog, whose name is Verdicchio, is a little nervous. But he has no reason to be jealous because my love for that wine is eternal. The fact is a proper journalist cannot ignore white wines that are rapidly gaining popularity among wine lovers, those made from Passerina, Pecorino and Trebbiano grapes, both single-grape wines and blended ones. These are wines and grapes that the Marche, more precisely Piceno, have in common with the Abruzzo region. Wines that owe much of their success to the recent, very strong interest in indigenous grapes, for which Italy is undoubtedly the world leader. Unfortunately, many here apparently have not understood this and seem to be doing everything possible not to invest in them as much as they should. In order to understand this reality I needed Virgil who could guide me though the sweet hills of Piceno in search of those small producers who over the past decade have dedicated themselves to making wine from these grapes. My Virgil was Marco Casolanetti, a legendary producer who, with his wife Eleonora, has brought his Kurni wine into the limelight. Eat your hearts out: when I went to their home they had me sample the last three vintages of Kurni and the latest of Kupra, after which I was treated to a home-cooked meal by Eleonora who used ingredients straight from their farm. I then spent the rest of the afternoon and part of the evening going through their vineyards and cellars looking for wines to write about. It was pure torture!
Driving through the Piceno hills in a jeep is very instructive because you can see how producers have been able to plant their vineyards on the very steep hillsides. You also discover how young these producers are, how they are still at a wonderful stage in their research and understanding of their grapes and how cultivating these grapes (which include Montepulciano) is not only economically very important but also deep-rooted. They are mostly all small and medium-sized producers with one, very big exception: Velenosi. Since we have often gone into depth about Velenosi wines, here we will focus on the small and very small producers, the craftsmen.
We start off at the wonderful winery of Clara Marcelli (100% organic), where we also tasted the wines of Valter Mattoni, ‘The Rock’, who is completing the construction of his own winery. Not only are they close relatives, but that also share a common spirit of collaboration. Special mention must be made to the platter of warm and fragrant Ascoli-style olives that accompanied the tasting. We then went to the Poderi San Lazzaro estate (100% organic) before tasting the wines of Maria Pia Castelli. They all also make some excellent reds that we will discuss at a later date. Take note of the prices here, they are often very low.
 

 
Raffa 2012
Offida Passerina Doc
Clara Marcelli

Rating » 83
Category » White
Region » Marche
Country » Italy

We start off with this 100%, certified organic Passerina wine which, like all her other wines, is fermented in steel vats. Her vineyards are located at some 200-300m above sea level. The wine has quite a bright, luminous golden-yellow color, while the slightly dreggy aroma is counterbalanced by lovely floral notes that more than compensate for it. The mouthfeel is bold and rewarding, never commonplace, a truly good drop.

7 euros

 
Raffa 2010
Offida Passerina Doc
Clara Marcelli

Rating » 86
Category » White
Region » Marche
Country » Italy

This was a much hotter year than in 2012 and so it comes as no surprise that the color is even bolder. As opposed to the previous vintage, the aroma is much cleaner and has some balsamic accents. The mouthfeel is robust with a clear return of honey and white fruit making it extremely drinkable. An excellent quality/price ratio.

10 euros

 
Irata 2012
Offida Pecorino Doc
Clara Marcelli

Rating » 90
Category » White
Region » Marche
Country » Italy

Regulations for a DOP classification allow for up 15% of the wine to be made with other grapes but Irata is made with only Pecorino that is fermented in steel. The color is a straw-yellow of medium intensity with green reflections. When I got my first whiff of this wine I came across an aroma I could not pin down. Casolanetti explained to me that it was that of the preserving liquid used in canned, sliced pineapple. This 2012 is really good with a splendid, long, fresh and bold mouthfeel, while the aroma also has white flowers and gorse. The price is incredibly low.

11 euros

 
Irata 2010
Offida Pecorino Doc
Clara Marcelli

Rating » 83
Category » White
Region » Marche
Country » Italy

It is not difficult to describe this wine, it is a 2012 but a little over the top, overflowing, probably due to the hot summer that was almost impossible to compensate for. There are no specific problems or defects, except that it is all too much of everything. At least right now.

11 euros

 
Irata 2007
Offida Pecorino Doc
Clara Marcelli

Rating » 84
Category » White
Region » Marche
Country » Italy

This was the first year of production, a six-year-old Pecorino that seems timeless. The color was the most intense of the three tasted, while the aroma played more on its floral component and the mouthfeel was robust but less dynamic that the others. This was a cross between the 2012 and 2010.

11 euros

 
Trebbien 2012
Marche Igt
Valter Mattoni

Rating » 85
Category » White
Region » Marche
Country » Italy

Valter ‘The Rock’ Mattoni is a house painter by trade and his family has always made wine for home use. Valter is also insatiable when it comes to eating and drinking and has decided to move up in the world by creating his winery. His wine comes in a round-bodied bottle with a crown cap (no kidding!) and has a light yellow color with green reflections. It tastes more like apple than white peach and the aroma has smoky and flint nuances. This may be a stretch but I’d say it is almost a little ‘Valentini-esque’.

15 euros

 
Pistillo 2012
Offida Pecorino Doc
Poderi San Lazzaro

Rating » 85
Category » White
Region » Marche
Country » Italy

Paolo Capriotti has a very clear idea where he wants to go and step by step he is creating an identity for his estate, enhancing it with an even bigger and more functional cellar. This Pecorino has a lot of texture to deal with and for this reason he ages it for a few months in barriques and, given the result, the move was spot on. Made from certified organic grapes, the wine has plenty of personality beginning with its intense, bright and warm color. Pineapple here comes back with a vengeance followed by a solid and salty mouthfeel with a nice freshness, drinkability and length. The price is excellent.

10 euros

 
Stella Flora 2009
Marche Igt
Maria Pia Castelli

Rating » 88
Category » White
Region » Marche
Country » Italy

We end this lovely panorama with a wine that is a blend of 50% Pecorino with the rest Trebbiano, Passerina and Malvasia di Candia. It is pleasingly different already with its distinct color, the result of fermenting long in the skins (some 20 days) in open steel vats, after which it ages for a year and a half in barriques and then another year in the bottle. Knowing all this one may be lead to believe that this wine packs a punch, whereas its mouthfeel is light, elegant and fresh. The aroma is very beautiful with notes of almond and even stronger ones of jasmine.

23 euros

Comments 3 | Add your comment
Wineries
Poderi San Lazzaro
Producer Paolo Capriotti
Contrada San Lazzaro, 8
63073 Offida AP
Phone +39 0736 889189 - Cell +39 335 8252640
web www.poderisanlazzaro.it
email info@poderisanlazzaro.it
Valter Mattoni
Producer
Via Pescolla, 1
63030 Castorano AP
Phone +39 0736 87329
web -
email w.mattoni@libero.it
Clara Marcelli
Producer Emanuele e Daniela Colletta
Via Fonte Vecchia, 8
63030 Castorano AP
Phone +39 0736 87289
web www.claramamrcelli.it
email info@claramarcelli.it
Maria Pia Castelli
Producer
Contrada Sant'Isidoro, 22
63813 Monte Urano FM
Phone +39 0734 841774 - Fax +39 0734 841774
web www.mariapiacastelli.it
email info@mariapiacastelli.it
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