Verdicchio? Is That A Vegetable? Does It Go With Carbonara? #ItalianFWT

Verdicchio from Marche and Lugana, Italy

“Verdicchio? Is that a vegetable?” My writing partner Sue Hills was asked this question twice in twenty four hours. While Verdicchio may sound like some sort of green vegetable, it’s actually a green fruit — a grape to be exact, and not surprisingly, a greenish grape. To make it even more complicated, Verdicchio is known by many other names, and combined, it’s one of the most planted grapes in the world — and likely one that you don’t know!

According to Ian D’Agata in Native Wine Grapes of Italy, Verdicchio is a member of the Trebbiano group of grapes best known by where they come from yet sharing morphologic and behavioral features: white berries, large and long bunches, high vigor, late ripening, and adaptability to diverse terroir, however, they are, for the most part, unrelated. Trebbiano di Soave, Trebbiano di Lugana, and Verdicchio in Marche show the most similarity, because they are synonyms, rather than true Trebbianos (YES IT’S CONFUSING!).

Where did the name come from? Some suggest the source is the Trebbia River in Emilia-Romagna, where a Trebbiano grows.  In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, Trebbiano wines were considered luxury items, possibly explaining why the name is common and applied to fifteen different Trebbiano varieties in Italy.

Last month, the Italian Food Wine Travel group focused on wines from Lombardy, and guess what I chose? Verdicchio aka Trebbiano di Lugana aka Turbiana!

This month, the Italian Food Wine Travel group is doing Verdicchio from Marche aka Castelli di Jesi Verdicchio and/or Verdicchio di Matelica.

So we wanted to compare the verdicchio from these two regions. But we had no verdicchio from Marche, only Trebbiano di Lugana. 

Fortunately, when Sue checked out the Point de Chene wine shop in Ojai California, and asked about verdicchio, they knew exactly what she was talking about, and lo and behold, they had one from each of the two most important DOCs, Castelli di Jesi Verdicchio and Verdicchio di Matelica! And they testified the wines are organic! 

With their typically abundant acidity and distinct mouthfeel that’s almost foamy on the palate, Italian wines like verdicchio are born for food, so with our tight schedules this week, we created a menu that we thought would pair well with the wines born from what I had in the pantry and the fridge… plus fresh zucchini, tomatoes, and herbs from my garden. 

Menu

  • Caprese Salad
  • Zucchini Carbonnara
  • Blue cheese topped thyme roasted figs

Marche Verdicchio

2019 La Staffa “Superiore” Castelli di Jesi Verdicchio DOC
ABV 12.5% 
SRP $21
Sue purchased this wine at Point de Chene wine shop in Ojai Ca. 
2500 cases produced a year. 

Color: Lemon, bright pale lemon

Nose: Herbal sage, anise, meadow flowers and grasses, lemon, minerals, the florals are subtle white flower, influenced by the ocean

Palate: Tons of acidity, lots of tart eureka lemon, nice body, good long finish with clean herbal notes. There is also salinity, the wine is very mouthwatering.  

Pairing: Delicious with the capresse salad loving the acidic tomato and the creamy burrata. The wine worked nicely with the the carbonara, but we decided it would have been better with a savory cured pork rather than a sweetly cured pork. It didn’t care for the sweetness, but didn’t hate it either.It does work. It did however love the creaminess in the dish. The wine is fresh and bright and does contrast nicely with all of the complex flavors in the dish. While the wine went well with the fig dessert, it was not the best wine with the dessert. It was a bit to tart to handle the sweetness in the dish. 

Verdicchio di Matelica

2019 Bisci Verdicchio di Matelica
ABV 13%  
SRP $21 
Sue purchased this wine at Point de Chene wine shop in Ojai CA
certified organic since 2016 but not on the label 

Color: Very pale lemon, almost platinum

Nose: White flower, honeysuckle, lemon curd, herbal notes, petrol

Palate: Very bright tart acidity, texturally there is a glycerol feeling coats the mouth. The finish is quite herbal, cool, and refreshing. 

Pairing: With food on the palate this becomes another wine. The basil in the salad is absolutely perfect with the wine. The greens in the salad and the green essence in the wine play together so nicely on the palate. The carbonara was perfect with the wine. The wine appreciated the honey cured ham the sweetness of the ham enhanced the tart characteristic in the wine changing the Eureka lemon to lemon curd. The wine loves the rich creaminess of the carbonara dish. It rides the rich creamy wave of the dish. Carving a path right on through. This wine is excellent with the carbonara. The fig dessert was magical with the wine. What stood out most was the herbal thyme and how well it went with the blue cheese and roasted fig. 

Lugana

2017 CaMaiol Molin Lugana DOP 
ABV 13% 
SRP
sample for review

Color: Lemon, not quite daffodil, 

Nose: First and foremost minerals are present, iron, hot springs, earth, lemon, influenced by lake

Palate: Meyer lemon, tangerine on the finish, tangerine oils you can breathe and feel the tangerine. Mouthwatering acidity, 

Pairing: The acidity in the wine is tamed by the capresse salad hitting it off so nicely with the sweet vine ripened tomatoes. The acidity in the wine brings out all of the sweet cream in the burrata. The wine loved the smokey characteristics in the ham that we used for the carbonara. It loved the creamy eggy sauce. It was hard to decide through the evening which wine went best with the carbonara, however this was if not the top contender, absolutely one of the top for the evening. The palate cleansing yet rich blue cheese topped roasted fig was great with the wine. A nice bright pairing. 

Lugana Imperial Monte Cicogna

2017 Azienda Agricola Monte Cicogna Imperiale Lugana
ABV 13.5% 
SRP 10 euros  
sample for review

If you like Chardonnay, but want something different than Chardonnay, try this wine. 

Color: Buttercup,

Nose: Lemon, gooseberry, fresh mown grass, anise, fennel,  clean minerals, fresh water, with food on the palate the nose changes and becomes a boquet of exotic spices, sandalwood, nutmeg, ponderosa pine, butterscotch. 

Palate: Tart lemon, great acidity, lovely viscous mouthfeel, roundness on the palate, satisfying 

Pairing: When paired with the capresse there is much more complexity on the nose and palate and the finish of the two together is dramatic. Carbonara would work if it had pancetta, or proscuitto. In our recipe it fought a bit with our honeyed ham (which was all we had). It loves the richness of the carbonara. Sue thought it would be great with a seared tuna steak over white beans with a dollop of pesto– and I’ll be testing this out this weekend! Fantastic with the roasted blue cheese topped figs. The rich flavors in both the food and the wine work well together. 

Verdicchio and caprese salad– YUM!

Learn more about verdicchio from Marche: 

verdicchio and zucchini carbonara

Join our discussion on this topic on Saturday Sept. 4 at 8am Pacific or check out the hashtag #ItalianFWT any time. 
  • 9:00 am MDT Q1 Welcome to the Verdicchio #ItalianFWT chat. Introduce yourself and share where you are tweeting from. Social media and blog links welcome, as are visitors!
  • 9:05 am MDT Q2 Our September topic is the Verdicchio grape and the wines of Castelli di Jesi and Matelica. Have you tasted any Verdicchio wines prior to our event? #ItalianFWT
  • 9:10am MDT Q3 Le Marche, located on the Adriatic coast, is one of the lesser-known regions of Italy but produces this amazing ageable white grape called Verdicchio. Was it difficult to find a wine from Le Marche? #ItalianFWT
  • 9:15am MDT Q4 Tell us about the wines you chose for this event! #ItalianFWT
  • 9:20 am MDT Q5 Have you travelled to Le Marche? If you have, what were your experiences there and were you able to taste different styles of Verdicchio? (i.e. passito, sparkling, Jesi, Matelica) #ItalianFWT
  • 9:25 am MDT Q6 Have you tried other wines from Le Marche? What are your impressions of the wines from Le Marche? #ItalianFWT
  • 9:30 am MDT Q7 If you paired your wine w/ food, tell us- did you choose an Italian dish or a pairing of your own? #ItalianFWT
  • 9:35am MDT Q8 Le Marche is an extremely gastronomic region, and they are extremely proud of their Michelin starred chefs. Did you do a lot of research in your dish or try to obtain any ingredients from Le Marche for your dish? #ItalianFWT
  • 9:40am MDT Q9 Did Verdicchio and your research pique your interest in visiting Le Marche? When the world opens, where is the first Italian region you think would you like to visit? #ItalianFWT
  • 9:45am MDT Q10 What other wines from Le Marche would you like to try? Lacrima, Pecorino, Passerina, Montepulciano? #ItalianFWT
  • 9:50am MDT Q11 Any other thoughts or discoveries you want to share? #ItalianFWT
  • 9:55 am MDT wrap up

6 thoughts on “Verdicchio? Is That A Vegetable? Does It Go With Carbonara? #ItalianFWT

  1. What amazing variety in wines with this one varietal! Your tasting notes really point that up. I was feeling the need to find the Bisci then read on and the Verdicchio from Lugana (with “Meyer lemon, tangerine and tangerine oils”). There is so much to explore with this grape!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How fun to get to compare these all at once. I had a chance to compare Matelica and Castelli di Jesi, but wish I could’ve had a Lugana in there too. The menu looks awesome as always as well!

    Liked by 1 person

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