2014 Roberto Lucarelli “Villa Piana” 

Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi

The Marche is at the center of a revolutionary transformation in white wine. For decades, Burgundy, the Mosel and Napa dominated the attention of collectors, sommeliers, and wine writers. But a “new” varietal is now garnering international acclaim: Verdicchio. An unfamiliar grape to some, verdicchio has long been regarded as Italy’s most noble white varietal, and now it is receiving the recognition it deserves. Babbo has always been a big supporter of the varietal, and we’re excited to feature a small family winery as our Wine of the Month in March!


What most wine lovers don’t know appreciate is the versatility of Verdicchio. Much like the great white varietals of the world, Verdicchio presents itself in many forms: racy sparkling wines, everyday, zesty “porch pounders,” Riservas worth aging for decades, decadent passitos, and late harvest gems.      


Verdicchio’s charm lies in the Marche’s geographic positioning. The region is located in east-central Italy with its eastern border along the Adriatic Sea. Beyond the peaks of the Apennine Mountains to its western boundaries are Tuscany and Umbria. To the north, the region is surrounded by Emilia-Romagna and to its south is Abruzzo. Roughly two-thirds of Le Marche is covered by the Apennine Mountains including all of the western part. But those who can overcome the difficult terrain are awarded with a nearly perfect series of micro-climates for wine production.


In the Marche, Verdicchio is best represented by two different DOCG wines: Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi and Verdicchio di Matelica. The names of these two different Verdicchio wines tell you the town where the vineyards are located. In the hills of Apiro lies the historic production zone known as the “Classico.” These are the oldest vineyards of the Castelli di Jesi and where Azienda Agricole Roberto Lucarelli is producing benchmark examples of Verdicchio.


His success starts in the vineyards where he has a very minimalist approach. Fewer chemicals in the vineyards ensures a more flavorful wine. The cold, wet vintage of 2014 created many challenges for producers up and down the Boot. Lucarelli’s approach in the vineyards paid big dividends.


The estate’s plantings are diverse, but none are more important than Verdicchio, which brings the winery its notoriety. The “Villa Piana” is a benchmark wine for the region. It has a beautiful pale straw color with flecks of green. The aroma jumps out of the glass showing notes of golden delicious apple, pear, lemon zest, white flowers, flinty minerality, and almond skin. Rich and full-bodied on the palate the wine is still fresh and clean.


The 2014 Roberto Lucarelli “Villa Piana” Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi is Verdicchio at its best. Wonderful as an aperitif or a perfect complement to many of Chef Frank Langello’s seafood inspired dishes.