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Bold and brooding, the nearly opaque 2003 Boccadigabbia Rosso Piceno possesses the color of aubergine on its edges, and in its forbidding center the wine appears as the deep well of blackness that seems to subsume the earth just before dawn. Make no mistake, this is no cherry colored strawberry scented whole berry fermented red. This is authentic, old-fashioned Rosso Piceno – the specialty of Italy’s Marches. In fact, Boccadigabbia is the finest and fullest Rosso Piceno we have ever tasted. An entrancing, deep down scent of black fruits, tinged with licorice and truffle, haunt the nose. Equally full, rich, and immensely flavorful on the palate, as a wine this deeply colored would predict, the 2003 Boccadigabbia Rosso Piceno both delights and surprises with its balance of fruit and tannin. Moreover, its savor of black fruits, earth, roses, violets, and forest woodlands all meld harmoniously with the wine’s lusty rusticity. Big boned, but never course, the 2003 Boccadigabbia Rosso Piceno is one staggering statement. And like most of Italy’s finest red wines, this Rosso Piceno is best when either consumed immediately upon opening or afforded extended aeration. Consequently, opening the 2003 Boccadigabbia at least an hour or more before serving at cool room temperature (64°-68° F) will more than repay the patience expounded. Enjoy!
The traditional hearty, stick to your ribs kind of foods that typify the Marches are indeed the perfect accompaniments to the 2003 Boccadigabbia Rosso Piceno. Beef or pork bracciole, better known as the tomato, onion and herb infused loin of pork the local inhabitants refer to as porchetta, are two of our favorite Marchesan dishes with the Boccadigabbia Rosso Piceno. Sweet or hot Italian sausage cooked to perfection in a thick, mouth filling tomato sauce makes for another fine pairing. In fact, most beef, bean, pasta or pork dishes get our nod with this wine, too. And if you want to turn an old-fashioned pizza into a special affair, open a bottle of the Boccadigabbia Rosso Piceno ahead of time, and have a party. Lest you think this wine a mere country bumpkin, we are equally proud to serve it in the company of more sophisticated Northern Italian or Piedmontese fare, so enjoy it as you like it!
Boccadigabbia is a small producer of premium wines in one of Italy’s finest but least known wine regions – the Marches – but even by the modest standards of the Marches, Boccadigabbia’s 17-acre estate is quite diminutive. However, by now we should have all come to the realization that good things do indeed come in small packages, or at least from small estates, and this is especially true of fine wine from Italy. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Boccadigabbia is the Marches’ premier producer of Rosso Piceno, a delicious blend of Sangiovese and Montepulciano that emanates from the region’s sun drenched hills, which rise above the gleaming Adriatic Sea. Rosso Piceno is also the region’s most important and prolific DOC, surpassing even Verdicchio in both prestige and sheer volume.
Until 1950, Boccadigabbia belonged to Prince Luigi Girolamo Napoleon Bonaparte, a direct descendent of the Napoleon Bonaparte we all know from legend and lore as well as high school history class. Moreover, the Boccadigabbia estate was one of the first to plant French varietals under the Napoleonic administration in the early 19th century, and this practice continues even today under Elvio Allessandri, the present owner.
Under the auspicious leadership of Elvio Allessandri, Boccadigabbia has gained international distinction to go along with the well-deserved accolades the estate has always received in Italy. And in addition to being the Marches’ foremost producer of traditional Rosso Piceno, Boccadigabbia is now fashioning miniscule quantities of Akronte, a very fine Cabernet Sauvignon; La Castelletta, a distinctive blend of Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Noir; Montalperti, a barrel-fermented Chardonnay that is ranked among the finest in Italy; and Garbi, a spunky, refreshing blend of Chardonnay and Trebbiano. Given the outstanding quality and limited availability of each of these fine wines, we are sure to hear more about the very fine, meticulously tended Boccadigabbia estate.
The Marches is the green, picturesque region of central Italy that lies wedged between the Appenine spine of the Italian peninsula and the cliff studded coast of the gleaming Adriatic Sea. Aside from the two month onslaught (in July and August) of Italian and Teutonic tourists that descend upon the coastal regions of the province, the Marches remains an oasis of calm, rural charm, art, religious shrines, fine food, and of course excellent wines – the very glories of Italy.
The most important wines of this rural oasis that sits just due east of Florence are Rosso Piceno, the most authentic and traditional of the regions wines; Rosso Conero, an even more robust version of Rosso Piceno in that its cepage is the same as Rosso Piceno, except here Montepulciano plays the dominant character and Sangiovese the supporting role; whereby, the opposite is the case with Rosso Piceno; and finally Vedicchio, the quintessential fish wine that hails from two distinct DOC’s, Castelli di Jesi and Matelica. Verdicchio from either region can be quite good, depending upon the producer, but by and large Matelica remains the source of the finest, fullest, and most authentic Verdicchio – a wine that also happens to be the Marches most compelling white wine, especially with seafood for which the Marches is justifiably renowned.
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