Verdicchio grapes

The Verdicchio is a 100% Italian white vine variety. Being one of the country’s finest white varieties, the Verdicchio is cultivated in a small region of Marche in central Italy.

It is a versatile variety, used both for quick wines or age worthy ones. Critics applaud the use of its wine and categorize as one of Italy’s best white grapes.

Historically, the grape has been in existence at least since the 14th century. Its origins could be in the Veneto region where it’s called in a different name. The vine could have been brought to the Marche region by Venetians escaping the deadly plague that terrorized Europe in the middle ages.

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The grape adapted quite well to the hilly terrain of Marche and is now found across Italian vineyards.

This grape is also used to produce some popular white wines of Italy as they have been discussed below.

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Wine regions

Verdicchio is a cent percent Italian produce and is to be found nowhere except Italy. Being a well known white variety, other wine nations have not yet adapted it for their needs.

Two DOCs in Marche region – Verdicchiodei Castelli di Jesi and Verdicchio di Matelica produce the biggest quantity of Verdicchio wines.

The former DOC is perhaps the most popular region with production of 100% pure Verdicchio wines being its specialty, although rules require a minimum of 85% Verdicchio content.

And however close the two DOCs might be, the wines produced have varying flavors and characteristics that depends on soil, climate and elevation.

The Jesi zone is more elevated than the latter, which is characterized by its proximity to the mountainous regions of Apennine hills.

Also, the Jesi zone is more open to the sea and has rich deposits of clay and calcium while Matelica has more of mineral deposits.

Origins of Verdicchio

Verdicchio is certainly an indigenous Italian variety, although it could have been brought by refugees from Venice when the plague struck in the 14th century.

The immigrants brought with them plants and animals among which this variety accompanied them. Records and evidences do exist of monks and common people describing the grape.

This variety also was one of the greatest during the 1970’s and 1980’s. Surviving statistical figures suggest that this was the 15th most popular white variety in the world, way ahead than the present leader in white varieties – Chardonnay.

It was also ahead of Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Sangiovese. However, despite of its proud former glory, the variety lost to the competition when several of these above listed grapes started gaining huge popularity in the white variety market.

Today, Chardonnay remains unbeatable.

Genetically, this grape has a lot of similarities with the Trebbiano and Greco varieties. Clones of Trebbiano and Geco also show close similarities with verdicchio suggesting that at some point of time, this could have been resulted as a cross between these two.

Considering that, Verdicchio is not fully an indigenous grape as most assert it to be.

Verdicchio wines

There are some 13 Verdicchio wines that seem to be very popular among Italian winemakers.

Among these Colonnara, Andrea Felici, Sartarelli, Umani Ronchi, Collestefano, Stefano Antonucci, Bisci are some of the best Verdicchio wines seen throughout the country.

Viticulture

Verdicchio’s defining characteristics are its high acidity that is so important for sparkling white wines.

Possessing heavy flavors of lemon and grapefruit, Verdicchio is not very fruity or sweet and neither is it very aromatic though it does exhibit aromas of mints and refreshing fresh lime when opened.

This is why these wines are very widely used as blending wines also.

The grape is early budding and ripens quite late and is considered mostly normal to pick just after optimum ripening has been achieved.

Too much ripe and the grape loses its acidity and gives off very natural, grassy flavors. On the contrary, early picked grapes might give off overly bitter trait.

Food pairing

As noted earlier, the Verdicchio wines are citric in flavor and aromas that go along the best with sweet desserts and of course salads.

Use them as a complementary wine to add strength to the otherwise sweet-spicy risotto or a broad bean salad with peanut dressing.

Author

Michael Bredahl

Michael Bredahl

Wine Writer

Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂

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