Verdicchio is an indigenous Italian white wine grape varietal grown primarily in the Marche region of central Italy. The name Verdicchio derives from the verde (or ‘green’ in Italian) and refers to the slight green/yellow hue wines have which are made from the grape.
While ampelographers believe that Verdicchio is probably indigenous to the Marche region, there appears to be a genetic relation to Trebbiano and Greco grape varietals. In particular, the clones of Trebbiano which are grown in Lombardy and in Soave show very close similarities to Verdicchio while genetic evidence has shown that Greco was probably an ancestor vine to nearly all of Italy's native white grape varietals. Verdicchio the grape is also known in Italy as: Trebbiano di Soave - Trebbiano di Lugana - Marchigiano and Turbiana.
Verdicchio has had a long history in the Marche wine region of central Italy with records showing its presence since at least the 14th century. Despite its sensitivity to climate conditions and tendency to produce inconsistent yields of variable quality. Verdicchio was a very common varietal planted in central Italy, with an estimated 65,000ha planted in the 1980's. These figures made Verdicchio the 15th most planted varietal of any grape in the world, ahead of renowned varietals like; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and even their own red varietal Sangiovese. Though locals speculate it is likely that most of those plantings were actually Trebbiano - as in 2010 there was 3532ha recorded.
Verdicchio is the principal grape behind two D.O.C. wines produced in the provinces of Macerata and Ancona; named 'Verdicchio di Matelica' and 'Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi'. In addition to producing crisp still wines, Verdicchio grapes are also used to make sparkling wines and also straw wine.
Verdicchio is a rapid growing varietal; it grows best in well drained soils of sand and limestone, a high acid grape and typically has a delicate bouquet. The varietal can produce high quality white wines noted for their high acidity and a characteristic nutty, almond flavour. Depending on the vinification techniques and on the vintage, Verdicchio wines range from fresh, approachable wines, to wines rich in bouquet and structure, sometimes even capable of aging for ten years or more.
It is medium bodied with surprisingly vibrant flavours, a crisp acid balance and a slightly bitter almond finish. Verdicchio wine is best consumed within the first two years from the vintage date. Most expressions of Verdicchio allow up to 15% of other grape varieties in the final blended. Typically with Trebbiano and Malvasia being the other two grapes permitted.
It local wines aromatic characteristic are mostly very elegant with touches of bitter almonds, green fruits and citrus notes - which carry through onto the palate and finish. Verdicchio’s naturally high acidity makes it a good base cuvee varietal for producing bright and fresh sparkling wines. Over the past decade - the quality of Verdicchio wine has improved, as producers limit yields even beyond D.O.C. regulations to produce fuller flavoured grapes that can better balance its natural high acidity.