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6 February 2024

Italian Verdicchio: A Timeless Classic with Remarkable Ageing Potential

When it comes to Italian white wines, Verdicchio stands tall as a timeless classic. Hailing from the region of Marche in central Italy, Verdicchio has captured the hearts of wine enthusiasts with its vibrant flavours, refreshing acidity, and, perhaps most notably, its remarkable ageing ability, which is often underexplored. In this article, I delve into the world of Verdicchio with wines from Tenuta di Tavignano and explore why it is a wine that deserves a place in your wine cellar.

Before I discuss the wines, I should introduce the region, Castelli di Jesi in Marche, to you. It is one I regrettably have never visited but have been close to, whilst in Umbria, on more than 20 occasions. My host for a vertical tasting of the Tenuta di Tavignano wines, Ondine de la Feld, described passionately the beauty of the area, with 25 castles in close proximity to explore. With the Adriatic coast a mere 20km away and the bustling towns of Ancona and Rimini within easy reach, it is a wonder wine tourism is not flourishing here. 

Interestingly, Ondine was a former architect, and with a lack of interest from her siblings to take over the 250-hectare acre estate (30 planted to vines) she joined the family business in 2014 and became CEO in 2021. The founders, Stefano Aymerich di Laconi and Beatrice Lucangeli had planted the Verdicchio vineyards in 1992, providing a perfect base to build from. 

My initial thought is that Verdicchio is not exactly a “sexy” grape and is often overlooked as a varietal existing for cheap, supermarket plonk, consumed by locals. There is an element of truth here, but as I was to discover, this is a short-sighted view with a number of producers creating exceptional wines. There is value to be found in unfashionable wines, and this is certainly one of them. 

Verdicchio, often referred to as the “little green one” due to its greenish hue, is predominantly produced in two distinct appellations within the Marche region: Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi (where Tenuta di Tavignano is) and Verdicchio di Matelica. As with so much of Italy, grapes have been cultivated here for centuries, and over that time, it was proven that Verdicchio thrives in the climate and soil here. 

One of the standout qualities of Verdicchio is its ability to age gracefully, something we do not experience anywhere near enough of. While it is undoubtedly enjoyable in its youth, with its crisp citrus flavours and lively acidity, quality expressions of Verdicchio truly shine when given time to mature. Unlike many white wines that are meant to be consumed within a year or two of release, Verdicchio can develop complex flavours and gain added depth with age, much like a Burgundian Chardonnay. 

As Verdicchio ages, it undergoes a transformation. The youthful citrus notes are mellow, making way for a more intricate array of flavours. Nuances of honey, almond, and dried herbs emerge, providing a more mature experience. The wine’s acidity, which initially provides freshness and vibrancy, evolves into a more integrated and harmonious element, lending structure and balance to the wine.

The ageing potential can vary depending on the specific appellation and winemaking techniques employed. Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, known for its lighter and fruitier style, is typically best consumed within three to five years of the vintage. However, some higher-quality examples can continue to evolve and improve for up to a decade. 

This is certainly the case with Tenuta di Tavignano and their Riserva range, of which I was able to taste all vintages from 2013-2019. As you would expect there is vintage variation, but what was very apparent is the wine’s ability to mature and take on secondary flavours, gaining complexity and becoming more intriguing to drink. The 2015 was a stand-out vintage showing a beautiful underlying sweetness of orchard fruits, whilst 2014 had a more meaty, fuller element to it. The 2013 on the other hand showed melon, green apples, pears, apricot and a wonderful minerality.

I was hugely impressed by how the wines had matured, from youthful herbaceous notes, just ripe fruits and a touch of salinity, through the middle years where I found tropical notes, to the fully mature which had transformed in their character to have evolved into a really interesting wine, a storyteller if you like, with life experience to share.

The wines were pure, with no oak influence having been matured in stainless steel tanks, built underground specifically for the job. I for one love this purity which allows the grape’s true flavours to show themselves in their unadulterated natural beauty. Interestingly, Ondine suggested enjoying the wines at 18c. Over-chilling diminishes some of the sweetness and salinity and as mentioned, her wines have nothing to hide. The estate started organic growing in 2014 and was fully certified in 2018, demonstrating their commitment to the land and environment. 

If you wish to purchase a case for laying down, they are mostly available from I suggest buying at least 12 bottles of each vintage as they are released going forward and opening one per year to chart its development. As always, when it comes to ageing,, proper storage conditions are crucial. These wines should be stored in a cool, dark place with a consistent temperature and humidity level. The absence of direct sunlight and temperature fluctuations will help the wine age gracefully and retain its delicate nuances.

I of course plan to take it one step further and visit the estate. They own a beautiful guest house ( offering the perfect opportunity to fully appreciate the region, its castles and of course the wines. The grapes here are handpicked in stages according to ripeness, so if you time it just right you may get to witness the harvest in full swing beneath the veranda as you enjoy a bottle or two of the estates wine. 

In conclusion, Tenuta di Tavignano produce wines that age beautifully. Their ability to evolve and develop complex flavours sets them apart from many of their counterparts. Whether you choose to enjoy it in its youthful exuberance or savour the rewards of a well-aged bottle, a well-made Verdicchio is a testament to the incredible diversity and quality of wines coming from Marche. So, why not explore the world of this underrated variety and discover the pleasures it holds, both in its vibrant youth and its mature splendour?

Tenuta di Tavignano



Category: Food & Drink