Verdicchio: The Italian White Wine You Should Be Drinking

When it comes to Italian wines, people love to talk mostly about reds. But, what about Italy’s amazing white wines?

Now, we aren’t talking just Pinot Grigio or Vermentino. While Northern Italy yields brilliant white wines, central Italy is home to spectacular ones as well. And, one you must consider is Verdicchio.

A rising star on the global white wine scene, Verdicchio’s unique character, incredible acidity, and finesse make it quite the thought-provoker. Its quirky history kept its individuality slightly in the shadows for a while (there was a huge debate on its genetics and exactly what kind of grape it is.) But, with more attention, DNA evidence, and proud producers representing it, Verdicchio is finding its much-deserved place in the Italian wine world.

So, if you adore ultra-refreshing white wines, read on to learn more about Verdicchio and why it’s the Italian wine you should be sipping.

Verdicchio’s Complicated History

One of Italy’s oldest grapes, Verdicchio presents a fascinating history filled with lots of - well - synonyms. Its genetic relationship to other grapes has made its story a difficult one to pin down. But, thanks to modern-day DNA science, we now have a clearer picture of what Verdicchio is.

Picture this: it’s the 15th century. The plague is still ongoing and people are vacating cities. Venetian farmers relocated south to the present-day Le Marche region. With them, they brought grapes to make wine, one being Trebbiano di Soave, a known biotype of Verdicchio.

This is the most believable hypothesis as to how Verdicchio made it to the Marche if you ask certain enologists, and those from the Veneto. Yet, many locals in Le Marche believe Verdicchio originated right in their soil, particularly the Esino Valley, as far back as Roman times. While we may never know the truth, we do know that Verdicchio, Trebbiano di Soave, and Trebbiano di Lugana (aka Turbiana) are all technically the same grape.

We don’t want to confuse you, of course! These grapes all grow in their areas, producing very unique wines, with Verdicchio specifically in Le Marche. Other regions grow Verdicchio (such as Umbria and Lazio) but not in such volume.

Fun fact: Verdicchio itself gets its name from ‘verde’ or green in Italian, referring to the green hue the berries have when ripe.

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Verdicchio Characteristics to Know

No matter the style, Verdicchio has quintessential characteristics to recognize. First, this grape naturally has very high acidity. This aspect makes these wines versatile - Verdicchio can shine both young and aged (two things that rely heavily on winemaking style, which we will touch on later.) Also, this wine is known to have a distinct, almond-like finish that’s persistent and thought-provoking.

The aromas and flavors vary with Verdicchio, relying heavily on where the grapes are grown and the aging approach. Usually, when aged, Verdicchio can develop alluring flinty notes. Continue reading to discover all these fabulous details on Verdicchio.

The Two Types of Verdicchio to Know

Verdicchio di Matelica

The most inland Verdicchio-producing region, Verdicchio di Matelica Classico Superiore DOC is home to wines with a vibrant mineral character. Growing surrounded by the Apennines, the Verdicchio here thrive in higher altitudes and a cool continental climate that awakens Verdicchio’s natural acidity. The minerality of these wines is enhanced by sandy-limestone soil graced slopes with excellent exposures that elegantly ripen Verdicchio.

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Verdicchio di Matelica DOC wines are typically leaner than in Castelli di Jesi, although it depends on the winemaking style. A perfect example is the Verdicchio di Matelica Riserva DOCG, which must be aged at least 18 months. The result is wines with more complex and enticing aromas like honey and citrus, along with more body.

Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi

The Verdicchio di Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore DOC is one of the main production areas of Verdicchio, esteemed for its fuller-bodied Verdicchio (as compared to those of Matelica). This difference all comes down to climate.

Located closer to the Adriatic coast, the vineyards of Castelli di Jesi are scattered among the hills, thriving in a Mediterranean climate with the benefit of both sea breezes and cool air coming from the Appenine mountains. These factors nurture the slow-ripening aspect of Verdicchio grapes while also developing much more ripe fruit flavors, like apple, apricots, and even honey. And, these aromas can surely jump right out of the glass. This character is what distinctively defines Castelli di Jesi from Matelica.

Just like Matelica, there is also Verdicchio di Castelli di Jesi DOCG. This riserva wine requires aging for at least 18 months and 6 months of bottle aging. These wines are known for their mature and persistent fruit aromas.

Various wineries are showcasing how dazzling Verdicchio di Castelli di Jesi can be. Pievalta produces biodynamic and organic wines, from sparkling to dry Riserva wines. Similarly, La Staffa practices organic viticulture, experimenting with pet nats as well as traditional styles of Verdicchio.

Sparkling and Sweet Wines

We must note that Verdicchio can be found in sparkling and sweet styles as well although these are a lot less common than the dry still white wine versions. Some producers make spumante DOC wines in Matelica and Castelli di Jesi, often produced in the classic method.

When it comes to the sweet Verdicchio wines, you can find passito-style wines across all the wine zones. These wines are made from semi-dried Verdicchio grapes (following the traditional appassimentowinemaking style), resulting in a delicately sweet and vibrant sweet wine. This style of Verdicchio isn’t found as much outside the Le Marche region. So, if you find it, it’s worth a try.

Ready to Try Verdicchio?

If you’re a white wine lover, it’s probably hard to resist trying Verdicchio - it’s quite an impressive and under-the-radar wine. Our team at Big Hammer loves Verdicchio and is only growing our selection of this zesty Italian white wine. We’re always here to answer all your Italian wine questions. 

Wines to Try

Bisci "Vigneto Fogliano" Verdicchio di Matelica D.O.C.
La Staffa Verdicchio di Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore DOC
2018 Pievalta Verdicchio di Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore
Borgo Paglianetto Jera Verdicchio di Matelica DOCG
2016 Pievalta 'San Paolo' Castelli di Jesi Verdicchio Riserva Classico
2021 Talosa Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG
2018 Mannucci Droandi Chianti Ceppetto Alto DOCG

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