What is Verdicchio
Verdicchio is the name of a white grape variety. It is also a part of many DOC names from central Italy that are made exclusively from the grape.
Verdicchio is grown in Italy’s Marche region, where it produces two Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) wines, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi and Verdicchio di Matelica.
Of these two regions, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC comes from the larger production area. Its vineyards are located to the west of the Ancona province, in the commune of Jesi. The Adriatic Sea is a mere 30 kilometres away. This is Marche’s largest DOC area, and production is largely controlled by growing cooperatives and négociant houses.
Verdicchio di Matelica DOC comes from further inland, close to the border with Umbria. The growing region is considerably smaller than that of Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, and the vineyards are at a higher elevation. Traditionally, Verdicchio di Matelica’s wines were considered the better of the two: Thanks to that elevation, its lower yields and better sun exposure due to its hillside vineyards, Verdicchio from Matelica had a fuller body and showed more character.
This is no longer necessarily the case, as Castelli di Jesi has worked on reducing yields and better understanding the individual subzones of the growing region regarding elevation, soil types and exposure. Both Matelica and Castelli di Jesi are thus capable of producing high-quality Verdicchio, with some of the very best coming from single vineyards.
Two Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) designations were created in 2011, and demonstrate Verdicchio’s capacity for ageing and complexity. Castelli di Jesi Verdicchio Riserva DOCG and Verdicchio di Matelica Riserva DOCG must undergo a minimum of 18 months’ ageing prior to release.
Verdicchio produces wines with high acidity and good structure. The wines typically show citrus fruit flavors of mandarin, lemon and grapefruit, and a distinctive almond character. In youth, this almond note is decidedly bitter, though over time that bitterness subsides and gives rise to a sweet marzipan quality.
Outside of Matelica and Castelli di Jesi, the Verdicchio grape is permitted in numerous other DOC wines, including Cerveteri, Colli Maceratesi, Colli Perugini, Colli Pesaresi, Colli di Trasimeno and Esino, among others.
Though most Verdicchio is dry white wine, some producers make sweet passito wine or sparkling spumante wine. The grape’s naturally high acidity helps in producing both styles.
The Verdicchio grape has been found to be identical to the grape varieties Trebbiano di Soave, Trebbiano di Lugana and Trebbiano Veltenesi.
Interesting in learning more about this white wine, or trying some of your own? Wine Enthusiast Magazine publishes all our expert reviews online, where they can be easily browsed in our online Buying Guide. Search through and find the Verdicchio wine to please your palate!
Verdicchio grapes are found in sparkling, white, and dessert wines.