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  Editorial Issue 174, June 2018   
Happy Birthday Verdicchio!Happy Birthday Verdicchio!  Contents 
Issue 173, May 2018 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 175, Summer 2018

Happy Birthday Verdicchio!


 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, prestigious Denominazione d'Origine Controllata area of the Italian Marche region, this year – 2018 – celebrates its fiftieth anniversary. A history began in 1968 and that has always been one of the most important denominations of Marche region, undoubtedly one of the most extraordinary white wines in Italy. Fifty years which marked Marche's enology and that, after many revisions and modifications made to the production disciplinary, in 2011 it reached DOCG (Denominazione d'Origine Controllata e Garantita, Controlled and Guaranteed Denomination of Origin) for the Riserva style. The history of Verdicchio is evidently much longer than the fifty years of the Denomination of the Castelli di Jesi, having a strong, solid and deep connection to the Marche region and, moreover, it is a prestigious representative of Italian wine. The success of Verdicchio was the result of the work of many protagonists that have given this grape fame and notoriety, among them – undoubtedly – Sartarelli winery of Poggio San Marcello, in province of Ancona. This winery undoubtedly is, since many years, at the top of Italian wine scene with its famous Balciana, a Verdicchio which, undeniably, has marked a new extraordinary page of history for the great white grape from Marche region.



 I had the privilege, and of course the pleasure, of tasting the first vintage ever produced of Balciana – 1994 – and that wine changed, for the better, my personal idea of what Verdicchio was. It happened in a restaurant near Spoleto, where I used to go at those times and which, fortunately, had a good and rich wine list. The owner of the restaurant told me he had added a new wine to the list, saying it was excellent, and he would have wanted me to try it. I asked what wine was, by whom it was produced and with what grapes: he replied it was produced by a winery in Marche with Verdicchio grapes. A Verdicchio different from all the rest, he said. I admit I didn't take him seriously – despite he was insisting on it very much and with a serious conviction in wanting me to try this wine – also for the fact, at that time, most of the wines produced with Verdicchio didn't seem to be particularly exciting to me.

 Let's make this clear: in that period – the middle of the 1990s – there were some magnificent Verdicchio, although they were few, maybe very few, and the majority was quite ordinary. This was not the case of Balciana. That Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Balciana was very different, it was a Verdicchio like it had never been poured into the glasses before. That Balciana 1994, as I have repeatedly said in the many occasions in which I spoke about this extraordinary wine, marked the beginning of the revolution of Verdicchio and the name of the Castelli di Jesi. More precisely – and better said – it relaunched the revolution of quality Verdicchio, proving the huge potentials of this magnificent white grape from Marche region. In this regard, Sartarelli winery is to be praised for its total and strong commitment to Verdicchio, as it is the only variety cultivated in their vineyards and with which makes five wines. Five different Verdicchio wines, each having its own precise and exact personality, all produced using only inert containers, no cask are used in this winery.


 

 To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the famous denomination of Marche, the last 20 April the Sartarelli family organized the interesting conference “Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, history and future”. The conference was held at the “In Verdicchio Veritas” museum founded by the Sartarelli family in their own estate. In the suggestive setting of the museum, the conference had the contribution of local authorities and experts who focused on the story of Verdicchio in the territory of Castelli di Jesi. Of particular interest, the interventions dedicated to the history and viticulture of Verdicchio, in order to clarify the origins of this extraordinary white grape. As it is known – in fact – Verdicchio is supposed to be introduced in the Marche region by settlers from Veneto in the late 1400s, invited by the municipality of Jesi with the aim of repopulating the countryside after the disastrous plague epidemic.

 The grape they introduced is supposed to be Trebbiano di Soave, also confirmed by recent DNA research conducted on the two varieties which highlighted a strong analogy as well as a genetic relationship. The adaptation occurred in the territory of Jesi in the course of the centuries has led to the Verdicchio of our days, capable of making white wines of extraordinary magnificence, among the most prestigious white wines in Italy. The adaptation has been substantial and significant, so much so as to consider today Verdicchio, undoubtedly, as an autochthonous variety of Marche, a characteristic also confirmed by the evident differences existing between the wines made with the two grapes. Verdicchio, in fact, has found in the territory of the Castelli di Jesi its preferred place and given the birth to a unique and magic union. Wines belonging to the denomination “Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi” always gets both the favors and positive comments from the international wine critics, placing the wines of the famous white grape from Marche to the Olympus of world enology.

 Verdicchio undeniably is a variety having a huge enological versatility. This certainly in confirmed by the production of Sartarelli winery, consisting in five wines, all produced with Verdicchio – the only variety found in the estate's vineyards – five different wines with a distinctive personality and quality. From sparkling wine Charmat method to passito, including three other styles, among them, the prestigious Tralivio and Balciana – Sartarelli's production is also the evident proof of Verdicchio's enogastronomical versatility. This aspect, not less important than wine making, was in fact discussed during the conference that took place at Sartarelli's “In Verdicchio Veritas” museum, in particular with the cuisine of Marche. In these fifty years the history of Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi has been enriched by significant pages – and certainly many more are waiting to be written – transforming Verdicchio from ordinary wine to a giant of Italian enology. Happy birthday Verdicchio, undisputed king of Castelli di Jesi!

Antonello Biancalana



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  Editorial Issue 174, June 2018   
Happy Birthday Verdicchio!Happy Birthday Verdicchio!  Contents 
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