I Vini Marchigiani ~ Wines of Le Marche
Marchigiani wines are a lot like Le Marche itself: high-quality, unknown, and affordable.
Verdicchio, the white wine most identified with Le Marche, has grown here for centuries. In the past it was stored in curvy amphora-shaped bottles. You may recall the mass-produced fish-shaped bottles of Verdicchio? It’s the same grape, but today it’s a different wine. Verdicchio can be made into easy-drinking table wines but producers who focus on quality make notable, ageworthy, and complex wines that are worth seeking out. Both the Matelica and Jesi riserva varietals have been awarded DOCG status, Italy’s highest quality designation.
Matelica is 45 minutes from Casa Pace e Gioia and Jesi is a 1 hour and 15 minute drive. We recommend visiting wineries in each region to taste the differences. With a stop for lunch, it’s an ideal day trip.
Vernaccia di Serrapetrona is a red sparkling wine, also awarded DOCG status, made with Vernaccia Nera grapes indigenous to Serrapetrona, found nowhere else, and cultivated on only 163 acres. It is made in two different styles: dry, to drink with food; or sweet, to enjoy with dessert. Serrapetrona, without the Vernaccia di, lacks the bubbles but retains the fruity, slightly bitter flavor.
Serrapetrona is a twenty-minute drive from Casa Pace e Gioia, so you can easily taste for yourself how one grape is made into three diverse wines. Serrapetrona itself is a lovely village with an excellent restaurant.
Rosso Piceno is the province’s everyday red wine and is awarded the second highest quality status, DOC. The pre-Roman era Piceni tribe cultivated Rosso Piceno in Le Marche in the 10th century BCE. Typically Rosso Piceno is made from a blend of Montepulciano and Sangiovese grapes, although up to 15% other red grapes can be added. The superiore version is aged for 12 months in wood. If you order red house wine in a nearby restaurant, this is probably what you’ll get. It’s a versatile and approachable wine that pairs with our local meats, cheeses, and pasta.
Falerio DOC is a white wine made from a blend of native grapes Passerina and Pecorino, blended with Trebbiano. The Falerio Pecorino DOC requires a minimum of 85% Pecorino. Both pair perfectly with stuffed and fried olives, and seafood.
Often found as standalone wines, Passerina and Pecorino both have high acidity, but Passerina has more citrus flavor, while Pecorino has more apple, pear, and herbal profiles. If you order house white wine, it’s most likely Passerina.
Ribona is a native white grape found mostly in Le Marche and many local winemakers win international awards with it. Commonly labeled under the Colli Maceratesi DOC, it is very regional, made only in Macerata province. Also made in a sparkling version! Fresh and aromatic, it has some minerality and a nice finish. It complements fresh cheeses, salumi, risotto, and seafood. I suggest buying one from each of the area’s winemakers and have a comparison tasting.
If you’d like to learn about and try the local wines made in our area, several winemakers within a 15 minute drive offer tours and tastings.
Lacrima di Morro d’Alba is a distinct red wine made from the rare and native Lacrima grape found mostly in Le Marche. It is intense, floral, and fruity, with black pepper at the end. It is grown north of Ancona but commonly found on menus in our area. It has DOC status and a cult following. People tend to love or hate it.
Rosso Conero has DOC status, while the two-year aged riserva is awarded DOCG. Cultivated in and around Ancona, Rosso Conero is a blend of 85% Montepulciano and 15% Sangiovese. An intense red with dark berry flavors, Rosso Conero is perfect with grilled meat, roast game, and pecorino cheese. Many award-winning producers are within 45 minutes to an hour’s drive.
Vino Cotto is a local wine, especially around Loro Piceno, and served mainly for dessert. It means "cooked wine" as the must of white and red grape mixture is boiled to concentrate the flavors. Sweet and strong, it is often served with cookies. If it's available, try it!
We have a Google map of wineries to visit and I’d be happy to make tasting arrangements for you. We can also arrange for a driver.
The Marche chapter of the Italian Sommelier Association has published a free book in English and Italian with an overview of the wines of the Marche and profiles of some producers.
You can read the "Le Marche nel Bicchiere 2021" here.