Learning about Marche whites with Villa Bucci
The profound appeal of Verdicchio
One of the ways to learn about Italian wine is through the indigenous varieties of grapes that give each region’s wines their distinctive flavors. This season in particular makes people want to enjoy a fruity, refreshing white. In April, Roberto Bucci of the family that owns Villa Bucci, the “King of Verdicchio” from the Marche region, came to Japan and talked about the Verdicchio white wine grapes that are perfect for this season and the terroir that produces such fantastic wines.
Marche is located in central Italy, right around the calf on Italy’s boot-shaped map. The region produces both reds and whites, and is particularly famous for its Verdicchio wine made from the grapes of the same name. Currently its DOCs include Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi around the city of Jesi, and Verdicchio di Matelica around Matelica. Villa Bucci has been engaged in agriculture since the 1700s in Montecarotto, one of the areas in the hilly region of Castelli di Jesi. It owns 350 hectares of land and grows wheat, corn and other crops in addition to grapes. Its vineyards cultivate 25 hectares of Verdicchio in the Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi area and six hectares of Montepulciano and Sangiovese in the Rosso Piceno DOC.
The appeal of Villa Bucci’s Verdicchio is its prominent lemon notes and its clear acidity. It is popular in Italy and the U.S. as a wine that goes well with seafood, and Roberto Bucci shares the reason. (Below is translated from Japanese)
“The advantage of Castelli di Jesi is its spectacular terroir. It lies at the same longitude as Tuscany, but because Tuscany gets the warm winds coming from Africa, it is better suited for growing red grapes such as Sangiovese. On the other hand, Castelli di Jesi gets cold winds from Russia, so it is good for growing white varieties with a crisp acidity. All of the soil in our vineyards is clay soil with large amounts of activated limestone, which allows us to grow mineral-rich grapes. Also, I’m confident that the fact that we grow grapes organically and protect the quality of the grapes by keeping the harvest to five tons per hectare helps us achieve this flavor.”
Villa Bucci first began to receive worldwide acclaim in 1983. It was said that a high rating from Robert Parker was the reason. There are still many attractive wines hiding throughout Italy. Discovering them one by one is another thrill of enjoying wine.
(Text: Kimiko Anzai)
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