The star wine in Le Marche is Verdicchio, and when it's good, it's delicious. Le Marche's winemakers have been growing the indigenous Verdicchio since the 14th century; the wine has long legs here. Verdicchio's name comes from "verde," a reference to the grape's slight green hue, and the wine has a reputation for being the ultimate fish-friendly because it's crisp, delicate and fresh. But that's not all it is. Verdicchio, like Pinot Grigio, has suffered from producers churning out oceans of undifferentiated plonk. However, in recent decades, winemakers have realized that there's a need--and a market--for carefully crafted whites that have personality, verve and energy.
Today, I'm happy to bring you a carefully made wine from the heart of Verdicchio country: Sartarelli Verdicchio Castelli di Jesi Classico 2013. It's a fresh, thrilling wine that packs a deeply satisfying punch for less than $18. Not every wine needs to be complex and demanding; sometimes you want to open a bottle that feels like a fresh breeze from the Adriatic. This wine is for pouring as you catch up with friends, palming bits of cheese and bread and meat. Fresh and mineral-laden, it's for priming your palates before dinner. It's for drinking as you wrest the last vestiges of summer sun and eat the last of the tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil.
Along with this value wine, I'm very happy to present three wines that are not strangers to serious collectors. All three have achieved the patina of legendary status--the '07 Barbaresco Asili Riserva from Bruno Giacosa, and the '99 and '00 L'Ermita from Álvaro Palacios. These are all stunning, age-worthy, serious wines that will bring the slow smile of recognition and satisfaction to true wine-lovers. I'm thrilled to be sharing them with you.