Check out this Verdicchio. Organic. Incredible quality. Italy's best-buy wine of all time?
Colle Stefano Verdicchio Di Matelica (DOC), 12.5% ABV
RRP: €19.25. Stockists: Le Caveau, 64 Wine, Greenman Wines, Bradleys Cork
‘Italy's best-buy of all time? Unbelievable quality for the price.”
That is a summation of this wine by Decanter.
Verdicchio may not immediately spring to mind when thinking of white wine grapes but it has a long history in Italy. According to legend, the invading Visigoths, on their way to sack Rome at the start of the 5th century, drank barrels of it to enhance their courage.
There are two areas in the Marche* (central-eastern Italy) that are well known for their Verdicchio wines, the Jesi and the smaller more inland Matelica. The wines of coastal Jesi are the better known, more popular. But I’ve a grá for the Matelica version and it continues with this one!
Matelica is an inland area, higher and cooler, well in from the coast of the Adriatic. Importers Le Caveau say you could eat off the floor of the winery “and hygiene is very important when making this kind of white wine.... We love it this for its racy, stony and revitalising mouthfeel”. Sounds like a Sauvignon Blanc to me and indeed Le Caveau recommend using it like a Marlborough SB.
The colour of this organic wine is quite a light straw. Aromas are herby, grassy, and minerally, reminiscent indeed of Sauvignon Blanc. With its herbal tang, it is lively and refreshing on the palate, lime zesty with the tartness of green apples and quince. And, like many Italian wines, the crisp acidity means it is superb with food (seafood ready is a term I've heard used in connection with Verdicchio from this area).
Very Highly Recommended.
And it's not just me and importers Le Caveau that are impressed. In 2013, the Decanter Italy supplement raved about it: “Italy's best-buy of all time? Unbelievable quality for the price.”
Grapes & Wines (2015), on Verdicchio, noted an "improvement in recent years", an improvement that brings better balance and structure. "It is typically Italian in that it relies on subtlety and texture rather than flamboyance...". They too are Matelica fans "whose wines are richer, rounder, more succulent yet still dry."
Eric Asimov, the famed NY Times wine writer, was very taken with the Colle Stefano. Writing of the 2020 vintage, he noted its “energy and electrifying acidity”, how it offered “plenty of texture and flavour”, and that “it made a lasting impression.”
Just wonder how well those comments went down in nearby Jesi!
Colle Stefano is located in near the mountain town of Castelraimondo on the border with Umbria. It is a family affair that has been making wine from organic grapes since 1995. Fabio Marchionni is in charge and he is strict in his application of organic techniques.
* How to pronounce Marche, via You Tube, here.