2020 Bisci "Vigneto Fogliano" Verdiccio di Matelica white wine from Italy
2020 Bisci "Vigneto Fogliano" Verdiccio di Matelica white wine from Italy

The Endurance of Verdicchio at Bisci

450 Words (Or So) on a Wine and Region and DOC That Deserve a Brighter Spotlight

4 min read

Of Italy’s 20 regions, Le Marche is one of the most overlooked — in terms of tourism, in terms of culinary renown, and in terms of wine. (Of course, I’ll tell you why “that’s a shame” in a moment). The region’s name is a reference to marks on a map, because this was borderland country long ago — the fringes of the Papal States. It’s largest city, Ancona, ranks 45th in the nation in terms of population, and unless you are going from Bologna to Pescara for some reason, there are few scenarios where you would simply pass through this isolated, coastal-meets-mountain region. But if you did, you might just discover the land of Verdicchio and the wonderful wines of such producers as La Marca di San Michele, La Staffa, Andrea Felici, Garofoli and Bisci.

Isn’t that the great thing about wine? It introduces us to these kinds of places from the comforts of home, and the next thing we know, we’re exploring “how do I get there and what will I eat?”

Isn’t that the great thing about wine? It introduces us to these kinds of places from the comforts of home, and the next thing we know, we’re exploring “how do I get there and what will I eat?”

Because of its isolation, Le Marche is one of only five of Italy’s 20 regions that I’ve yet to visit. And because of Verdicchio, I am dying to go. (I do have some friends who managed a trip years ago, and they raved about the seafood and the budget luxury accommodations they found. “Ugh, you’re killing me,” I responded.)

Situated between the Adriatic Sea and Umbria, Le Marche is mountainous and rural, and the interplay of warm sea-borne air currents and cold, crisp Apennine wind creates a tension that can elevate Verdicchio into the pantheon of top Italian white grapes.

The easiest appellation to explore — because of volume, but also reputation — is Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi. The entry-level wines are rated DOC, while the Riserva wines get a DOCG. But higher up into the hills, and largely sealed off from the Adriatic, is the equally intriguing Verdicchio di Matelica. Here the vineyards encounter a more continental climate, a longer growing season and more precipitation, all of which seem to combine and reveal a briskness to Verdicchio that feels like unstoppable momentum on the palate.

Bisci offers three versions of Verdicchio di Matelica: a simpler reference point blend of multiple vineyards and younger vines, the “Vigneto Fogliano” single vineyard, and — in select years — a Riserva from Vigneto Fogliano called “Senex.” The entry-level gives you a sense for the immediacy of Verdicchio di Matelica: the freshness, the angular edges, that quick-footed agility and the mineral finish. This is not a wine to linger on, but rather to pop, pour and pound.

“Vigneto Fogliano,” however, reveals where Verdicchio di Matelica can go: richer fruit, more herbaceousness, tea-like tertiary tones and a persistence that seems to say “remember me when this bottle is empty.” And because of that, it also seems to say “remember me when you want to age a white wine for a few years.”

2020 Bisci “Vigneto Fogliano” Verdicchio di Matelica

Bisci 2020 "Vigneto Fogliano" Verdiccio di Matelica - a white wine from Marche, ItalyVerdicchio di Matelica DOC (Marche )
Grapes: Verdicchio (100%)
Alcohol: 13.5%
Opinion: ★★★★ 3/4
Food friendliness: Impeccable
Value: Very Good

       

A beginner might like … the persistence. When you are reading a book, its nice to have a chapter lead you into the next. In wine, that’s what we call “the finish” — the shape of the wine as it lingers and fades on the palate. Because of Verdicchio’s acidity, the unique way these grapes develop over a long growing season in the tiny Camertina Valley of Matelica, and the age of the vines in this single vineyard, “Vigneto Fogliano” comes across as a real page-turner.

A wine obsessive might like … the ageability. Like Chardonnay, Verdicchio takes to lees contact dutifully, and here the Bisci estate allows for 15 months of sur lie aging before 3 months of bottle rest before release. This wine is not the current release, yet compared to the 2022 vintage, it reveals an easing of tension that seems to reveal more than conceal. I love the idea of cellaring wines only for a five-year window rather than decades — a strategy that points to white wines like Verdicchio, Friulano and Etna Bianco. Life is short.

 

Note: This wine was purchased with funds raised from our subscribers. Thank you.

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