Villa Forano, the silent locomotive of Colli Maceratesi
In an under-rated area, almost unknown outside the region, is an estate, Villa Forano, which with the local DOC appellation is making wines full of character, be it the whites using only the Ribona varietal or the red blends.
It may not be kind to say so, but for over the past 30 years Colli Maceratesi has been a buffer appellation. It is crushed to the north by Castelli di Jesi, to the west by Matelica and to the south by Piceno, the Marche region’s three most fashionable appellations.
The reasons why this area has been so overshadowed are many and, unfortunately, blatant: the lack of a joint, common promotional effort to break out of the province’s boundaries; the lack of leaders of the caliber of people like Ampelio Bucci, of the estate of the same name in Castelli di Jesi, or Angela Piotti Velenosi, of the Velenosi estate in Piceno. If you add in the lack of cooperation among estates, you will understand why this zone has been unable to establish a wine identity. And this despite having great potential.
All this is a shame because there is no lack of interesting aspects: from the beauty of the landscape, elegant and silent; to its vicinity to important urban areas like Macerata, Treia and Cingoli; and the quality of certain wines, both red and white.
Let’s take a closer look.
Colli Maceratesi Rosso is a totally unknown wine but a distinctly interesting one, a blend of Sangiovese with two native aromatic varietals: Vernaccia Nera, which not far from Colli Maceratesi is used to make Vernaccia di Serrapetrona, and Lacrima, which in Jesi is used for Lacrima di Morro d’Alba. The red wines are not only full-bodied but also aromatic and spicy with fresh tannins (which is unusual in the area).
But their real trump card is probably the white wine, Colli Maceratesi Ribona, made with the grape of the same name. This varietal gives wine distinct character, with a boldness that perhaps even surpasses that of Pecorino and yet despite this it has been commercially overrun by the more modest Passerina wines. A biotype of Greco Bianco or, more likely, Verdicchio, Ribona produces wine in this area with a medium body that is slightly tart and pleasingly bitter with a note of confit and anise. It is a wine that not only can age for several years in the bottle but can even improve with age, maintaining its typical austere characteristics: expressing metallic, floral and fruity notes at the same time. In the glass it thus recalls more a great Verdicchio than a Greco di Tufo, which gives more stone/sulfur impression.
Villa Forano Monteferro shares the podium for being the best Ribona with the wine produced by Fontezoppa in Civitanova. Villa Forano is one of the most beautiful estates in the whole Marche region and is situated in Appignano, near Macerata, and they have been making wine here since the 17th century. It is owned by the Lucangeli family of Rome and is run today by Chiara Lucangeli. The estate is a small, silent locomotive for the area and is one of the three best.
The estate has 160 hectares of land of which 20 hectares are vineyards and hosts a holiday farm. They also cultivate sunflowers, medicinal herbs, walnuts and many other things. The white wines are almost all matured in stainless steel, while the reds ferment and mature in larger barrels. Contrary to the norm, the estate sends its wines to the market only when they begin to reach their organoleptic peak.