Looking for a new white wine to keep you cool this summer? Try verdicchio.
Italians have been making wine from this grape for centuries, but many American wine drinkers are not familiar with it. We need to get to know this grape better.
Verdicchio (pronounced ver-DEE-kee-oh) is a popular grape variety in the central Italian region of Marche. It produces light and lively wines in a range of styles and prices.
Today’s example, the Macrina ($13-$15), is fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks, so it retains fresh fruit aromas and flavors. Another wine produced by the same company is called The Podium ($25), and while it also is made from verdicchio grapes, it is much more elegant and complex. It also can be aged in your cellar for 6-10 years. Both are wonderful wines; it just depends on what you are in the mood for.
One of my readers has complained (gently) that I too often write about the old standards like chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir. He challenged me to look at some not-so-familiar wines. He particularly pointed me to grüner veltliner, another wonderful white grape, about which I’ll be writing about within a few weeks.
But for today we will stick to verdicchio. The name comes from the word verde (or green), and refers to the slight green/yellow color you often see in these wines.
The Macrina is a beautiful light straw color in the glass with enticing aromas of peaches and apples. That freshness carried into the first sip, where I picked up notes of citrus with some pleasant mineral notes. It is a dry wine, nice and crisp, that is great for before-dinner sipping, or paired with many kinds of food.
The grapes are 100 percent verdicchio grown in the hills of Castelli di Jesi, in the communes of Montecarotto and Serra de Conti. The grapes are soft pressed and fermented in stainless steel at cool temperatures.
I would serve this wine cold, at about 55 degrees. It probably will be good for 2-3 years after release.
WINERY: Garofoli is the oldest family-owned winery in the Marche region, which lies halfway down the east coast of Italy. Wine has been produced there for centuries.
In 1871, Antonio Garofoli began producing wine for the pilgrims who passed by his home on the way to visit the famous church of Loreto. Thirty years later his son, Gioacchino, founded the winery and began making wine commercially.
Gioacchino’s sons, Franco and Dante, succeeded him after World War II and began selling the wine in bulk at cafés and bottling wine for sale in food stores. Sales grew quickly.
In the 1970s, the winery reduced vineyard yields and only harvested grapes when they were fully ripe. This yielded wines with bigger body and structure, a style that was becoming popular.
Since 1994, Gioacchino Garofoli has been a joint-stock company, wholly owned by the Garofoli family with Gianfranco serving as president and Carlo as CEO. In September 2005, the fifth generation entered the Garofoli company: Carlo’s daughter Beatrice and Gianfranco’s daughter and son, Caterina and Gianluca.
Annual production amounts to about two million bottles, of which 35 to 40 percent is sold on the domestic market. Garofoli produces a wide variety of wines, red, white and sparkling, as well as two dessert wines called passito and brandy. They also produce olive oil.
GOES WITH: We had this with grilled chicken and french fries, a kind of half-healthy meal that tastes so good. My wife, Teri, must have been off her game that night because she didn’t insist that we have some kind of vegetable. It was all meat and starch.
The citrus and mineral flavors of the wine were just right with the rich, savory chicken. It was a perfect warm weather kind of dinner.
I also served this wine at a wine tasting at the Jessye Norman School for the Arts, after a yoga session. Out of about a dozen different wines, the Macrina was the first bottle emptied. It was quite popular.
When I grill chicken I like to keep it simple. I dust the chicken on both sides with Morton Nature’s Seasons and grill the meat at about 200-250 degrees. It takes about 90 minutes, but it is worth the wait.
I use a squirt bottle to keep the meat moist with a mop sauce made from apple cider vinegar, Morton Nature’s Seasons, red pepper flakes, Kosher salt, garlic and brown sugar. I boil everything for about 10 minutes and let it sit for about an hour. The tangy sauce really adds flavor to the chicken and keeps it from drying out on the grill. I squirt mop sauce every 20-30 minutes and turn the chicken over after about 45 minutes.
I usually cook leg quarters because the meat is so tasty and they are easy to handle on the grill. The leg quarters at Lanier’s Meat Market are the best, nice and small and tender. They also come at a bargain price. So for less than $20 we had a tasty meal for three, including wine.
The Macrina also would pair well with fried and roasted seafood, as well as many grilled meats, such as pork chops, duck, chicken, turkey and game. Like many Italian wines this would go nicely with olives and all kinds of cheese.
If you have questions about wine you can email Dennis Sodomka at firstname.lastname@example.org