If ever a wine could be described as a beacon of pure joy, it might just be the rare Lacrima di Morro d’Alba from Le Marche, near central Italy’s Adriatic coast. This dry red’s ambrosial perfume of lavender, roses, and tooth-staining wild berries is completely intoxicating, while its lithe, juicy freshness makes imbibing feel like a divine privilege. Made from the Lacrima grape—presumably named for the teardrop-like shape of its berries—in the gentle hills around the town of Morro d’Alba, near Ancona, this Marche specialty nearly went extinct before being revived by a handful of vignerons in the 1980s. Lucky for us, they salvaged this gem of a variety, which reaches an aromatic expression that, next to any other red wine, feels like stepping into technicolor for the first time: you’ll gaze in awe at brilliant flowers and succulent fruits bursting with sweet nectar; you may even feel something mystical we usually don’t experience in wine. The wizard behind this is Stefano Antonucci, also the author of our crisp bargain Verdicchio. Grown where the Adriatic meets the Apennines, his Lacrima is equally befitting for delicacies of the sea or land. But served chilled, on a sunny spring day, this luminous red will refresh and enliven regardless of what surrounds it.
As with every region in Italy, the Marche is a world all unto itself. This is the home of the Verdicchio grape, whose name comes from the root verde, describing both the greenish hue of the grapes and the resulting wine. The Castelli di Jesi DOC is one of the largest of the zones in which Verdicchio is grown.. It is capable of making vibrantly fresh and crisp white wines. The Riserva bottlings can age gracefully. From Azienda Santa Barbara we have a wine in the former camp. Owner Stefano Antonucci has a track record of creating benchmark wines from the Marche and we are excited to bring this Verdicchio as our first import from this little-known region of Italy.
Great winemakers, great terroirs, there is never any hurry. And I no longer buy into this idea of “peak” maturity. Great winemakers, great terroirs, their wines offer different pleasures at different ages.
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