La Monacesca Verdicchio di Matelica 2009
FACTFILE – La Monacesca Verdicchio di Matelica 2009
Name: La Monacesca Verdicchio di Matelica 2009
Grapes: At least 85% Verdicchio grape but this DOC allows Malvasia and Trebbiano in the blend. The last vintages I tasted of this wine were 100% Verdicchio although there is no mention of other grapes on the label… so we guess 100% Verdicchio.
Region: Matelica DOC
Style: The standard bottling Verdicchio from La Monacesca is one of the best value driven Verdicchio wines on the market with classic tones of anise, almond and a sour, bitter finish. Verdicchio is famous for its wonderful fresh acidity which makes it a perfect accompaniment to so many seafood/pasta dishes.
Vintage: A straight forward but very hot growing season in 2009 did little to hurt the wines in the Matelica DOC (whose wines seem perpetually less affected by vintage than their neighbours). The wines do not appear over-ripe and continue to zing with acidity.
Food Pairing: Seafood risotto, fatty fish/octopus.
The smaller and less famous of the two Verdicchio DOC’s (the other being Castelli di Jesi), Verdicchio di Matelica DOC covers an area of around 300 hectares just under 4kms from the Le Marche town of Macerata. The area produces dry whites (this one), passitowines and a spumante.This DOC, and this producer, also produce a popular and lauded riserva version which is highly celebrated and this year scooped the Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri award. These standard versions must contain at least 85% Verdicchio grapes and, as mentioned above, can include Malvasia and Trebbiano up to 15% in the blend.
However, if ever there was a white wine for food Verdicchio is it. It isn’t that I am generously complimenting Verdicchio’s ability to bring out the fuller flavours in food, as much as that, without food, it’s, well, lets be polite, unpleasant. You know when you feed a baby a gherkin or give it a sip of black coffee for the first time and it pulls that “OMG why would you do this to me” face? For me, for my palate, it’s a little like that.
Now don’t misunderstand me. Verdicchio is a wonderful wine with food. La Monacesca Verdicchio di Matelica 2009 especially, is, a wonderful wine with food. Throw this wine at me alongside a seafood risotto and I’m happy as your 10 year old nephew with a new record angry birds hi-score. However, I’m yet to be bowled over by Verdicchio as a stand alone varietal wine, even when the DOC allows for a blend this grape asserts that bitter finish that many people love. Verdicchio is a very popular wine.
Setting aside my personal preferences, this Verdicchio is a perfect example of the grape. La Monacesca Verdicchio di Matelica is produced by one of the most consistent wineries in Le Marche and within a DOC famous for its year on year ability to conquer the vintage. This isn’t because the soil and micro-climate around Matelica are so particularly favourable, it’s because the producers in this region, as well as having good soil, are also rather good and competitive winemakers. What I’m saying is, if you want to give Verdicchio a go, or, if you’re already a convert and are looking for a solid, well-priced and reliable Verdicchio then La Monacesca’s Verdicchio di Matelica 2009 is one of the better bottlings readily available in the UK.
La Monacesca Verdicchio di Matelica 2009 – BUY – £9
A golden yellow in the glass with distinctive green hues. On the nose this wine gives out a tremendous waft of aromatic beauty with citrus, anise, honeysuckle and green under-ripe walnuts. Striking acidity and a luscious mouth-feel gives this wine a rich, opulent tone with sour citrus notes continuing to the mid palate. The finish is generous but very bitter, so much so as to shock the unexpecting. The wine’s fruity, almost blossom-like nose is so beautiful that the bitter finish creates an unpleasant ending for my palate but this is Verdicchio and you must decide for yourself. My score: 87 Points
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There is still time to enter the Italian Wines 2011 Gambero Rosso competition on the previous blog entry. Well… two hours anyway, c’mon, chop chop.