Tired of drinking the same ‘ole Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio during the dog days of summer? Break out of the rut and try a fresh, crisp Verdicchio. A dry Italian white, Verdicchio features bright citrus. Think lemon curd.
The name is derived from verde, because the wine is green-tinged when young. It then takes on a more golden hue as it ages. Yes, you can actually age this white to release creamier, riper tones. But for those of us who like instant gratification and a clean, uncomplicated white, there’s no need to age this youngster.
Verdicchio is relatively inexpensive, yet don’t expect to see large selections of it like you would the more mainstream whites (our local Total Wine only has one label). But that is also part of the allure of this fun white. For the best selection, find a local Italian market or wine shop. We opened the Sartarelli Classico ($13) the other evening with a cheese plate and decided this varietal definitely deserves to be on our white rotation this summer.
Those who really know their Verdicchio may tell stories of when this varietal was nothing more than a ubiquitous white table wine poured from kitschy fish-shaped bottles, giving it about the same appeal as the cheesy Chianti cask did for Italian red. But since those days, Verdicchio has earned a more respectable place in the white wine clique. Though still well priced, I find it to be an elegant entertaining wine that is often presented in a green amphora-shaped bottle like the one at our local Total Wine (Sanrocchetto Verdicchio Jesi).
Verdicchio (pronounced “ver dickee yo”) comes from Marche, a region of Italy located on the Adriatic Sea in the central eastern part of the country. Two appellations in this region produce Verdicchio, and you will typically find bottles from the more prominent D.O.C. Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi appellation. Where this appellation is located on the coast with a clay-based soil, its less popular sidekick, the D.O.C. Verdicchio di Matelica, is landlocked and has a more mineral-based soil. Both produce wines with lively acidity perfect for pairing with fish.