2015 La Monacesca Verdicchio
Producer: La Monacesca
Region: Verdicchio di Matelica, Le Marche, Italy
Tasting Notes: Lemon citrus, mineral flavors, almond, stone fruit and green apple.
Pairings: Fish of all sizes, shapes and preparations, pesto shrimp, grilled lemon-pepper chicken, antipasta, lemongrass tofu.
Price (approximately): $18
The first impression of this wine comes before any sip, swirl or smell. The color is simply stunning. While I do not frequently comment on appearance (I like to get right down to drinking), this wine will get some stares, and deservingly so. It possesses an absolutely gorgeous golden yellow hue that is produced not through oak aging, as one might expect, but through extra time on the vines.
The wine’s bouquet is floral and delicately fruity, with unripe stone fruit, green apple, refreshing lemon citrus, and subtle fresh green herbs. On the palate, the wine is full bodied, wonderfully structured and elegant. The palate is driven by mouthwatering acidity, lemon citrus, flinty minerality, a touch of salinity and finishing with sweet almond.
Many Italian wines are absolutely brilliant with Pacific Rim cuisine, and this wine is no exception. An ideal companion for fish, uncork this vino for a variety of preparations, including pink snapper ceviche, Moroccan fish tagine, Hawaiian-style steamed Moi, grilled lampuka with pesto and penne pasta, pan fried lemon-glazed 'Opakapaka, and roasted whole Onaga with fresh lime and cilantro. Not in the seafood mood? No worries, the wine’s full body and acidity affords versatility in food pairing. Try with grilled lemon-pepper chicken, light pastas and pizzas, lemongrass tofu, and grilled vegetables.
This wine hails from the central Italian region of Le Marche, long reputed for its mastery of Verdicchio, arguably Italy’s greatest white varietal. Seriously, it is that good.
Although most tourists are [quite understandably] attracted to the white sandy beaches, towering picturesque cliffs and clear blue waters of the Adriatic, those with vinous ambitions become more intrigued as they journey inland. The western border of Le Marche is formed by the imposing Apennine Mountains, which offer regional diversity of elevation, climate and terroir. This diversity complements Verdicchio splendidly, as it is known to adapt readily to different conditions and soils. The region's viticultural acumen even garnered the attention of the Catholic Church, who promptly claimed the region as Papal Lands in the Sixteenth Century. One can always rely upon the monks to offer an ecclesiastical beverage to nurture the [inebriated] soul.
Verdicchio is best expressed in two Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) sub-regions of Le Marche, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi and Verdicchio di Matelica, which have grown Verdicchio since at least the Fifteenth Century (and arguably as far back as the Eighth Century). Here, Verdicchio is at its finest.
Verdicchio di Matelica
The Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita of Verdicchio di Matelica is distinct in its geographical position and ancient geological character. An elevated, hilly region nestled near the Apennines on the border of Umbria, Verdicchio di Matelica has a continental climate and excellent diurnal temperature variation in the summer months. This combination contributes to a long growing season that is ideal for Verdicchio to remain on the vine and ripen evenly and at its leisure. This helps to preserve acidity and produce wines with complexity and great aging potential.
The remnants of Le Marche’s ancient beginnings can still be found amongst the soils. Fossilized bones and shell deposits from maritime creatures in a long-extinct salt lake bed add to well-drained soils rich in potassium, calcium and limestone. This combination has consistently translated to age-worthy wines with exceptional mineral flavors and structure.
Verdicchio is perfect for summer sipping or as a companion to Pacific Rim cuisine. It is crisp and refreshing, yet full-bodied, versatile and can age in the cellar alongside your White Burgundies and Rieslings. Verdicchio encompasses everything a wine should be.