The Castiglione Bisci estate is the Marches’ finest expression of quality and style for both red and white wines. This is a superbly situated property whose consistent success with Verdicchio, the region’s most renowned wine, and Villa Castiglioni, an outstanding proprietary red, make Bisci the Marches’ most illustrious wine estate. In fact, its owners produce several wines of extraordinary eminence. In order to produce such outstanding wine, draconian measures are taken by 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 – a rarity in today’s cash flow driven economy. And these are just a few of the measures that set this estate apart from the majority of commercial producers in the Marches. The Marches is the picturesque viticultural region of Italy that lies between the Apennines and the Adriatic; a green pastoral land that recalls the simple delights of Tuscany in times gone by. Here several excellent and increasingly well-known wines are produced: Verdicchio, Rosso Piceno, and Rosso Conero. But the region’s best-kept secret remains outstanding proprietary reds such as Bisci Villa Castiglioni, which rival those of neighboring Tuscany. Moreover, Bisci is also widely acknowledged to be the foremost producer of Verdicchio, the Marches’ signature white wine. 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 the Castelli di Jesi appellation. However, very few experts, let alone consumers, know that there are indeed two appellations in the Marches where Verdicchio is produced – Castelli di Jesi and Matelica. Both appellations employ the same indigenous white Verdicchio varietal, but the similarity ends there. In short, Matelica is the smaller and less famous of the two regions, but its wines are much fuller, richer, and infinitely more interesting than those of Castelli di Jesi. Not surprisingly, Bisci fashions the two finest Verdicchio di Matelica. Bisci is located in the heart of Matelica, a very small township couched in the hilly rural part of the central Marches. Yet, even in the Marches, Bisci’s wines are fairly rare and difficult to find. Matelica is the real Marches, a land of substance as well as charm, whose attributes are aptly reflected in the property’s wines. All of Bisci’s wines are handcrafted in tiny quantities and most are consumed locally. In addition to producing outstanding Verdicchio di Mettalica from the estate’s vineyards, Bisci crafts small quantities of superb red wine. The estate’s proprietary red, Villa Castiglioni, is a seductive blend of 70% Sangiovese (the famous Tuscan varietal which is also indigenous to the Marches) and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. This is roughly the same blend or cepage as the great proprietary reds of Tuscany, known as Super Tuscans, who legally cannot claim to be Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, or any other well-known wine because of the addition of Cabernet Sauvignon. Villa Castiglioni proffers a heavenly bouquet and more than enough elegance and flavor to put many so-called “Super Tuscan” reds to shame. And like its Tuscan counterparts, Villa Castiglioni must be labeled with a proprietary name and not that of an appellation. If Villa Castiglioni substituted the local Montepulciano grape for its portion of Cabernet Sauvignon, it would be entitled to the Marches’ Rosso Piceno appellation. Such is the Byzantine intrigue and the confusing vagary of fine wine production in Italy. No matter, the wine is super and that’s what counts.