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Our Value of the Month: A New Italian Red

Our Value of the Month: A New Italian Red

by Anthony Lynch by Anthony Lynch

2023 Rosso Piceno

2023 Rosso Piceno

Colleleva   

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Colleleva    Italy   |  Le Marche   |  Rosso Piceno

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I’m willing to bet that most people have never tasted a Rosso Piceno: this Italian red comes from a region most have never heard of (Le Marche) and its starring grape variety, Montepulciano, is often conflated with a town in Tuscany by the same name—coincidentally home to its own wine appellation featuring not Montepulciano but Sangiovese, which plays a supporting role in our Rosso Piceno. Is that all confusing enough?
     Let’s take a step back. Rosso Piceno does not fancy itself as one of Italy’s greatest or grandest wines. It serves a purpose similar to Piedmont’s Dolcetto, or France’s Côtes du Rhône: wines you can uncork—or in this case, unscrew—on a whim, without worrying about the company, the pairing, or the planetary alignment. Grown along the Adriatic coast of central Italy, it combines the deep color and wild berry fruit of Montepulciano with the brightness and earthy grip of Sangiovese. Its dark fruit is boldly mouth-filling, yet smooth and juicy, even crunchy when served with a slight chill, which I recommend. With only its second release, the Colleleva Rosso Piceno has already joined the ranks of the shop’s top pizza and BBQ bottles. Unscrew responsibly!

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More from this Producer or Region

About The Region

Le Marche

map of Le Marche

Le Marche’s reputation as a producer of fine wine is relatively recent, as the region is very much off the beaten path for tourists and tasters alike. And yet, early Etrsucan and Roman civilizations grew grapes here, a tradition that persists and continues to gain momentum in this undulating land where the Apennines descend to the Adriatic.

In between the warm coastline and the cool, rugged mountainous border with Umbria lies a landscape of calcareous rolling hills that provide ideal conditions for viticulture. The zingy, green-tinged, citrus- and pine-scented Verdicchio is king here, producing delightfully crisp whites that perfectly complement the fresh fish and seafood stews of the Adriatic, in addition to the pork-based dishes that are staples inland. Around the towns of Jesi and Matelica, the grape takes on an additional dimension and is even capable of significant aging under the right conditions.

While our involvement in the region is recent, the two producers we represent demonstrate that Le Marche is capable of producing whites of serious interest, which often come at great value.

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Sampling wine out of the barrel.

When buying red Burgundy, I think we should remember:

1. Big wines do not age better than light wine.
2. A so-called great vintage at the outset does not guarantee a great vintage for the duration.
3. A so-called off vintage at the outset does not mean the wines do not have a brilliant future ahead of them.
4. Red Burgundy should not taste like Guigal Côte-Rôtie, even if most wine writers wish it would.
5. Don’t follow leaders; watch yer parking meters.

Inspiring Thirst, page 174

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