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Forget any insipid Verdicchio from fish shaped bottles you may have experienced in Italian restaurants or cheap seafood shacks across America because the 2011 Bisci Verdicchio di Matelica adds a whole new dimension to the Marches’ most popular wine. Arrayed in a gold tinged robe the 2011 Bisci Verdicchio offers up an alluring nose of dried pineapple and fresh summer fruits. And on the palate, subtle floral tones and gentle fruit flavors mingle with Verdicchio di Matelica’s refreshing minerality. You won’t find any oak on this wine or encounter any smoke and mirrors in Bisci’s Verdicchio, just pure elegance and charm. We suggest only moderate chilling (40°-45° F) of Bisci’s Verdicchio di Matelica in order to capture all of the subtlety and charm this wine has to offer. Enjoy!
The 2011 Bisci Verdicchio di Matelica is the ideal accompaniment to almost any seafood dish, especially the fish specialties for which the Marches are famous. In the towns and villages of the Marches, it is widely acknowledged that the dry, aromatic, fuller bodied Verdicchios from Matelica highlight the province’s heady seafood fare better than the fruitier, more commercial wines from Castelli di Jesi. Even the local fish soup, a version of Cioppino, doesn’t overpower the Bisci Matelica. However, we prefer Bisci’s subtle complex Verdicchio with such freshwater delicacies as trout and perch. Saltwater fish like grouper, snapper, and tilapia serve as equally enjoyable companions, especially when steamed, grilled or served with a complex sauce. Bisci’s fine Verdicchio Matelica pairs well with chicken, veal, and wild game birds, too. We even enjoyed Bisci’s Verdicchio with pork tenderloin, as there is no wimp in this white wine. Salute!
The Castiglione Bisci estate is one of the most illustrious estates in the Marches. It also fashions Verdicchio’s finest expression of quality and style. Its owners produce several wines, both white and red, of exceptional quality. If the truth be known, draconian measures are taken at Bisci to assure the ultimate quality of every bottle: rigorous pruning to limit yields, strict selection of every cluster at harvest, the bottling of only free run must, and the steadfast refusal to bottle wine in poor vintages. These practices are just a few of the measures that set this estate apart from the vast majority of commercial producers of Verdicchio.
Verdicchio is a commonplace name among wines consumers, and so is the striking but hopelessly impractical fish-shaped bottle that encapsulates the most commercial of Verdicchio’s wines from nearby Castelli di Jesi. However, very few consumers realize that there are two distinct appellations for Verdicchio – Castelli di Jesi and Matelica. Both appellations employ the same indigenous white Verdicchio varietal, but the similarity ends there.
The wines from the Castelli di Jesi appellation perpetuate Verdicchio’s reputation for making light wines of refreshing simplicity and affordable price. Nearly all commercially bottled renditions of Verdicchio, including those in amphorae or aquatic-shaped bottles, hail from Castelli di Jesi. Conversely, Verdicchio di Matelica produces fuller flavored wines of greater character and charm. Sadly, they remain virtually unknown outside of the Marches, as they are handcrafted in tiny quantities by local artisans. Castiglione Bisci enjoys the reputation as the region’s premier producer.
For the record, Verdicchio takes its name from the greenish yellow grape varietal that constitutes the mainstay of all Verdicchio wines; many critics would also add that Verdicchio renders heart and soul to the wines that bear its name because up to 20% Trebbiano and or Malvasia are legally permitted in Verdicchio, but the finest versions such as this month’s feature from Bisci contain only Verdicchio.
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