Le Marche – Italy’s hidden gem

Have you heard of the Italian wine region Le Marche? It is a secret paradise for food and wine lovers in the know.  Marche is located in the centre-east of Italy, between the Apennines and the Adriatic Sea. It is surrounded by other major wine regions: Tuscany and Umbria to the west, and Abruzzo to the south.

The Marche region boasts breathtaking coastline,  charming rural scenery, picturesque medieval villages, and Renaissance cultural centres.  What’s more, the wines made from  native grape varieties make perfect pairings with local cuisine and seafood.

Marche map
(image source: Wiki Commons/Circle of Wine Writers)

 

The Marche has around ​25,000 hectares under vine and produces 2 million hectolitres of wine per year. The most famous variety is Verdicchio, which makes the region’s characterful dry white wines.  The most representative Verdicchio DOCs are Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi and Verdicchio di Matelica.

Verdicchio has no distinct fruity aromas. But what it lacks in aromatics, it makes up amply for in salinity and complexity of flavour and texture. It can be crisp and youthful, or deep and buttery, or anything in between. Typical flavours include garden herbs, dried nuts,  lemon salt, all accompanied by bright acidity.  Verdicchio can evolve and age very elegantly. Villa Bucci, for example, produces some extremely elegant and age-worthy Verdicchios that could warm the hearts of die-hard Burgundy fans. 

 

 

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A selection of Terroir Marche organic wines, perfect with local fish and mussels

 

Other regional white wine varieties include Biancame (Bianchello), Pecorino and Passerina. Passerina is also widely used here to make sparkling wines in the Charmat method (or the tank method – whereby the second fermentation happens in stainless steel tank. This is a cheaper and easier way to make sparkling wine than bottle fermented ‘traditional method’).

 

For red wines, the most notable varieties are Sangiovese and Montepulciano. Also worth mentioning is a very rare native variety: Lacrima. When young, it has a rather one dimensional floral profile of fresh roses and violets, but as it ages, Lacrima could develop beguiling scents of lavender, dark berries, mint, cinnamon, pepper, balsamic, and even oyster sauce! Lacrima can also be used to make pretty sparkling wines and sweet passito. (Passito is a dessert wine, also known as straw wine or raisin wine. To make it, grapes are left to dry for 4-5 months on straw beds after (late) harvest. Then the grapes are gently pressed and the juice fermented.)

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A rare vertical tasting of Lacrima di Morro d’Alba at Marotti Campi winery

 

The culinary and cultural delights of the Marche region are not to be missed. Take the UNESCO World Heritage Site Urbino as an example, it is the birthplace of the famous painter Raffaello Sanzio and a significant centre during the Renaissance. It is also one of the best areas for truffles!  The Adriatic Sea is a boon for fresh seafood and wild shellfish such as mussels, known as Moscioli.  The local artichokes and olives are fantastic too.

 

 

 

 

Here is the full report and tasting notes from the 2019 Circle of Wine Writers press trip to the Marche. And why not follow our route to discover this hidden gem for yourself!

 

Suggested Wineries: 

Villa Bucci

Via Cona, 30 – Localita Pongelli – 60010 Ostra Vetere (AN)

www.villabucci.com

bucciwines@villabucci.com

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Malacari

Villa Malacari – 60020 Offagna (AN)

www.malacari.it

info@malacari.it

 

Marotti Campi

Via S. Amico, 14 – 60030 Morro d’Alba (AN)

www.marotticampi.it

wine@marotticampi.net

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Moroder

Via Montacuto, 121 – 60129 Ancona (AN)

www.moroder.wine

mail@moroder.wine

 

 

Umani Ronchi

Via Adriatica, 12 – 60027 Osimo (AN)

www.umanironchi.com

wine@umanironchi.it

 

Bruscia

Strada Cerasa, 11A – 61039 San Costanzo (PU)

www.brusciavini.it

Info@brusciavini.it

 

 

Di Sante

Via Antinori, 89C – 61032 Fano (PU)

www.disantevini.it

info@disantevini.it

 

Cantine di Castignano

Contrada San Venanzo 31 – 63072 Castignano (AP)

www.cantinedicastignano.com

mail@cantinedicastignano.com

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Ciu Ciu

Contrada Ciafone, 106 – Loc. Santa Maria in Carro – 63073 Offida (AP)
www.ciuciuvini.it

Info@ciuciuvini.it

 

Places to visit and local restaurants:

 

Sirolo

A popular seaside town in the province of Ancona, with a charming restored medieval centre.

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Local restaurant recommendation:

Ristaurante ‘Da Silvio’,  Saletto, 60020 Sirolo

Come here for the freshest seafood and seatings by the beach.

 

Urbino

A beautiful and contained walled city with a magnificent ducal palace at its centre. A UNESCO World Heritage Site with rich historical legacy and an independent Renaissance culture.

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Local restaurant recommendation:

Ristaurante ‘Antico Furlo , Via Furlo, n. 60 Acqualagna (PU) – 61040

Alberto Melagrana is the foremost expert and master chef for all things truffle.  So this is THE place to taste Urbino truffles in various glorious renditions. Guestrooms also available here.

 

Torre di Palme

An idyllic medieval village on top of a hill overlooking the sea, just a few kilometers from Fermo.  An #instaperfect holiday spot!

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Local restaurant recommendation:

Ristaurante ‘La Facaro’ , Via Piave 4, 63900 Torre di Palme, Fermo

Have your aperitif atop the hill with a sea view, then descend into the romantic cave restaurant to continue your gastronomic delights.

 

Jesi

A historical town that lies along the Esino River, southwest of Ancona. It boasts an elegant Old Town from the Medieval and Renaissance period, built upon Roman foundations.

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Istituto Marchigiano Enogastronomia, Jesi. A great place to learn about Marche’s wines, food and culture, and to taste many local wines by the glass, all under one roof.

Local restaurant recommendation:

Hosteria dietro le Quinte, Piazza della Repubblica 5b, 60035 Jesi

Fine dining in the middle of the Old Town square.

 

 

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Enoteca Reg. di Offida

 

DOC IN THE MARCHE

  • Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi
  • Verdicchio di Matelica
  • Colli Pesaresi
  • Colli Maceratesi
  • Esino
  • Bianchello del Metauro
  • Falerio
  • Terre di Offida
  • Rosso Conero
  • I Terreni di Sanseverino
  • Lacrima di Morro d’Alba
  • Pergola
  • San Ginesio
  • Rosso Piceno
  • Serrapetrona

 

DOCG IN THE MARCHE

  • Castelli di Jesi Verdicchio Riserva
  • Verdicchio di Matelica Riserva
  • Offida
  • Conero Riserva
  • Vernaccia di Serrapetrona

 

Image credits:© Jürgen Schmücking

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