Verdicchio is rarely considered more than a simple thirst-quencher, but thanks to the young, ambitious team that is La Marca di San Michele, such stereotypes can be all but forgotten. Their recipe for success—organic farming, natural vinification and aging in enormous oak casks with malolactic fermentation, and unfiltered bottling—yields a wine that does indeed provide vivacious refreshment, but also delivers ample layers of flavor and refined texture. Suggestions of pine nuts, hay, and spring flowers lead to an ultra-precise, stony finale recalling the ancient seabed the vines call home, in the shadow of the Apennines and within view of the Adriatic Sea. Tuck a few bottles away for six to eight more years, or serve immediately with a local specialty: porchetta.
La Marca di San Michele in Cupramontana is run by the sibling team of Alessandro Bonci, Beatrice Bonci, and Daniela Quaresima. They are light years ahead of most of their neighbors in growing their six hectares of Verdicchio vines entirely organically, vinifying with minimal sulfur, and bottling unfiltered. Cupramontana is the birthplace of Verdicchio production in Le Marche–the region’s first vineyards were registered in 1471. La Marca refers to a “border district.” All of these territories were united to form the region of “Le Marche,” the only Italian region that takes the plural. The dynamic young leadership of La Marca is producing wines that will inspire your senses and transport you to this breathtaking land.
I want you to realize once and for all: Even the winemaker does not know what aging is going to do to a new vintage; Robert Parker does not know; I do not know. We all make educated (hopefully) guesses about what the future will bring, but guesses they are. And one of the pleasures of a wine cellar is the opportunity it provides for you to witness the evolution of your various selections. Living wines have ups and downs just as people do, periods of glory and dog days, too. If wine did not remind me of real life, I would not care about it so much.
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