Like most Italian families in Le Marche, wine from our region was present at every big family gathering. Still it wasn’t until my 20’s that I gained a real appreciation for the diversity and quality found in the under-rated wine region of Le Marche. Considered all of Italy wrapped up into one region, the geographical diversity of Le Marche is a recipe for some of the finest wines in the world, at the most approachable prices.
All of Italy wrapped up into wine region
Le Marche has 5 Provinces, each giving rise to a different Terroir. In the Le Marche wine region of Italy the land ranges from badlands, blue-flag beaches, vast mountains ranges and rolling hills home to olive groves and vineyards. This geographical variety makes Le Marche the most diverse region for Italian wine production. You’ll find everything from full bodied and robust wine denominations in both red and white varieties to bubbly sips perfect for an evening filled with appetizers and aperitifs.
Up and coming wine region of Italy
Over the past ten years Le Marche has been an up and coming wine region in Italy. Becoming increasingly more favorable with Italians and international wine-lovers alike, Le Marche has successfully increased its wine production by 40% over the last decade. With this welcomed increase, wine producers have embraced the new with the old. Many preferring to use organic and biodynamic practices that are in full respect of the environment. Some producers have even perfected ancient wine practices used by the Romans and Egyptians. These wines fermented in amphora are a favorite of guests and you can enjoy them during the exclusive wine tastings on tour.
Italy’s wine region where you’ll get the best bang for your buck
Lying low under the radar, Le Marche’s wines are easy on your pocket. The quality to price ratio found in Le Marche out ranks any other wine region in Italy. When a 90 points Brunello Montalcino costs you 300 dollars a pop, wine of equal quality from Le Marche won’t put such a dent in your pocket book.
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A 94 point wine for just $14.99
Gaining popularity around the world, you may have already heard of Verdicchio. Widely exported outside of the Le Marche wine region of Italy, it’s an easy find on shelves across the world and online. One brand you can purchase online is Sartarelli’s Verdicchio Castelli di Jesi. It’s another excellent example of Le Marche’s unbeatable price to quality ratio. Santarelli’s wines have scored 94 points in the Decanter’s World Wine Awards for their 2018 Verdicchio. A bottle of this vintage will only set you back 15 euros (around 18 USD).
Wine from Roman Times
Born during the Roman Empire Bianchello del Metauro has been around for over 2,000 years. A delicate fresh and dry wine made of 100 percent of Bianchello grapes it is the perfect companion for cocktail hour in Italy. Produced near Urbino, the hometown of Raphael, it was surely a favorite of the Renaissance artist.
Planning a visit to Urbino and its world UNESCO site of the Ducale Palace? Check out a Local’s Guide to Urbino, Italy
Adding Verdicchio to your dinner menu tonight? Pairing well with the local seafood along Le Marche’s Coast of Conero, Verdicchio is the drink of choice when dining at our favorite local seafood restaurant on the 7 day and 9 day tours.
Want to learn more about how to pair Verdicchio? Click here to grab your Quick Guide to Verdicchio
Not “Actually” wine
Visit an abbey or monastery across the Le Marche wine region of Italy and you’d be hard done by not to find a giant ancient copper vat engineered for making Vino Cotto – cooked wine. A deceitful name, Vino cotto is not actually wine. Unlike wine which is fermented, the Grape Must used in Vino Cotto is first cooked down to 50% of its original volume. This not only concentrates the sugars, but kills the bacteria required for fermentation. So instead of being fermented, Vino Cotto undergoes an aging process similar to that of Balsamic Vinegar. The end product is a sublimely sweet dessert wine that goes down perfectly with the local Ciambellone (a light, donut like cake) which is enjoyed on tour after your visit to Europe’s Largest Roman Cisterns. It is also one of Italy’s many wines that you won’t find exported abroad. Getting a taste of Vino Cotto is the perfect excuse for any wine lover to plan a trip to the Bel Paese.
A wine with dual personalities
Often referred to as the white dressed in red, Pecorino is unique to the Piceno wine region of Italy. During the 80’s Pecorino was brought back to life. Rediscovered up high in Apennine mountains, it was grafted on vines and successfully cultivated at lower altitudes in the Piceno wine region of Italy. So where does the name of Pecorino come from? Some say the little sheep grazing on the mountains (pecorino in Italian means little sheep) loved to eat these grapes because of their high sugar content. Legend has it that this enticed the local shepherds to coin this grape variety “Pecorino”.
Heading to a dinner party and don’t know what wine to bring? Pick up a bottle of Pecorino! Its bold qualities allow it to pair well with meat and its fresh citrus flavours also make it suitable for seafood. With the added bonus that the Illuminati Pecorino, 91 pointer from James Suckling will cost you only $14.99 USD a bottle!
Perfect Pairings for Cocktail hour in the wine region of Le Marche Italy
Passerina is another one of the grape varieties grown in the Piceno wine region. A light white wine it often makes an appearance as the opener to a long leisurely lunch. Not will you find it enjoyed with appetizers, but in its bubbly form winemakers usually offer it to you when serving Olive Ascolane (crispy lightly fried stuffed olives) at the wine tastings on your tour with us. Italians are regional specialists when it comes to their cuisine, and winemaking is no different. In fact, the bubbly version of Passerina is not actually produced in the Piceno wine region of Italy. Instead the Passerina grapes are sent to the Veneto wine region that specializes in the production of Prosecco.
A wine named after one of Italy’s most beautiful villages
Tucked high up on the rolling hills in the Piceno wine region of Italy you’ll find one of Italy’s most beautiful villages: Offida. Named after this postcard perfect town, the full-bodied red, Offida rosso has achieved one of Italy’s highest standards: DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita). It’s a mark of quality, controlling not only the quantity but when, where and how the grapes are harvested. Adhering to these very strict guidelines you can be assured that you’ll be drinking a quality Offida Rosso made with at least 85% Montepulciano D’Abruzzo grapes.
Ready to discover more of Italy’s most underrated wine region? Click here to discover your next Italian vacation.