Just back from Italy with wines from the Marche (“MAR-kay”) region located on the eastern side of central Italy, on the Adriatic coast, I returned to California Wine Country with Steve Jaxon and Dan Berger.
I brought two different bottles of Verdicchio from Tenuta dell’Ugolino. Verdicchio is a popular white wine in Italy but is not well known outside the country. I also brought two other little known Italian varietals, from the Madonnabruna winery, one called Passerina and another called Pecorino (which is not to be confused with sheep’s milk cheese!)
Dan Berger says that there are a lot of Italian white wines that are all delicious, and quite different among them. Italy is known for reds. They have been making wine for so long, yet in the past, some of their white wines did not travel well and did not have a high profile on the export market. The Italians liked to use concrete vats, for fermentation, which can’t control temperature. Now they use stainless steel. They taste a Verdicchio wine, which is a grape whose name means “green” since its skins are quite green. Dan says this wine needed stainless steel to make a wine that is exportable. This is the most popular white wine in Italy and it’s fabulous. There is no such thing as Chardonnay in Italy (there is a little –ndr) but Verdicchio is everywhere. The winemaker produces two Verdicchio wines, one from about 1200 feet elevation, so cold nights and warm days. Dan says it is a fresh, light, fruity wine, and is delicious. Only in the last decades are the Italian whites this good. There is also one called Passerina, and yet another called Peccorino, (also the name of sheep’s milk cheese).
Steve asks me about Prosecco. There is a lot of Prosecco made in the northeast, but the best is DOCG from Valdobbiadene. Dan says that the Italian Prosecco producers produce their wine fast, to compete with the Spanish Cava, as an alternative to more expensive French or Italian sparkling wines.
These wines are available now on my website.
Listen to the full episode here: