Italy’s Marche region enjoys a beautiful coast to the eastern Adriatic Sea. With its capital Ancona, Marche is an excellent source for seafood-based dishes, and of course, of extraordinary white wines to go with them.
For wine, Marche is often seen as a second tier, but nothing could be further than the truth. The region’s mastery for crafting white wines with the local Verdicchio grape makes them contenders not to be messed with, and the reds, mostly made with Montepulciano, are not only well-made, they’re tremendously pleasing. Here’s all you wanted to know about the wines of Marche.
Isolation is a blessing
Marche lies right below Emilia Romagna to the North, it’s sheltered by the Apennines to the west, it neighbours Abruzzo to the south, and the Adriatic Sea to the East. Although part of central Italy, the region is isolated to some extent, most of its 9,694 square kilometer (3,743sqmi) territory is mountainous or hilly.
As with many Italian regions, Marche is blessed by steep mountain ranges and vast coastal ranges, creating microclimates suitable for both table wine production and high-quality offerings. Chilly mountain winds but also warm Mediterranean breezes create a unique terroir for winemakers to play with.
A troubled past
Marche has a troubled past since the Middle Ages. Landlords claimed the region, and it changed hands more than once. It fought for its independence a few times, too, until Italy’s unification bought peace to the land.
The region is not densely populated and was considered economically weak until the 1980s. Marche lacks landmarks like Venice’s channels, popularity as the Tuscan hills, and colossal cities like Milano or Rome. Marche only has its warm-hearted people and its artisans. The region is rural Italy at its finest, and that’s where wine is most worthwhile, it’s infused with the real Italian feel of the old days.
Grapes and wines
Marche doesn’t produce much wine, it’s number 13 out of 20 Italian regions. Still, the region has 15 DOCs and 5 DOCG, including the famous Castelli di Jesi Verdicchio Riserva DOCG and Verdicchio di Matelica Riserva DOCG, both championing the native Verdicchio.
Amongst over ten grape varieties commonly found in Marche’s vineyards, including the interesting Vernaccia Nera and the light-bodied Lacrima, the most planted are Sangiovese (22%), Montepulciano (20%), and Verdicchio (14%).
For the best wines in Marche, try Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOP Classico Superiore “Versiano” 2020 – Vignamato with mineral and citrus aromas and a soothing palate.
Marche grows stronger every day
Marche might still be unknown for most wine enthusiasts, but no one forgets the first time they try a glass of Verdicchio. Just when you think you know white wine, you find gems like these, and that’s what Marche brings to the table – the excitement of discovery.