Thursday, April 2, 2009

Discovery of the Month: April 2009 Intriguing wine from Le Marche

2007 Colli di Serrapetrona "Collanquanto" red Le Marche Italy
Suggested retail price $12-$15
A Jan d'Amore Wines Selection in NYC

You probably tried at least one white Vernaccia before, but did you ever try a red Vernaccia? No? Well, I need to admit, me neither, before this one. So let's discover it together.

This grape variety and the resulting wine of the same name come from "Le Marche" (or Marches) region, located in the central eastern part of Italy, a hilly region bordering the Adriatic Sea.

Serrapetrona D.O.C is an appellation (or a Denominazione di Origine Controllata) surrounding the village of the same name, situated in the foothills of the Appennine Mountains chain, about 60 kilometers southwest of the main town of Marche, called Ancona (in the Macerata province).

Although, Montepulciano and Sangiovese for the reds, and Verdichio, Trebbiano and Malvaisia for the whites, seem to be the major grape varieties, Le Marche produces many other different wines. Some well known and some so obscure that they don't even travel further than the local Marche market. Among them, you will find names like: Bianchello del Metauro (Bianchello grape), Bianco dei Colli Maceratesi (Maceratino grape), Falerio dei Colli Ascolani (partly made with Passerina, Pecorino and Pinot Bianco), and amongst many more, the now finally rediscovered Vernaccia (Nera) di Serrapetrona.

Vernaccia di Serrapetrona is a fairly rare and apparently ancient wine. Historians found trace of it in the Middle ages, with some appearances in the 14th century books and poetry. It was well established as an indigenous grape variety and a pretty unique wine by the 19th century, being one the most recognized wine of this small patch of land (that the Macerata province is) in "Le Marche". Altough, for diverse reasons, its popularity slowly declined by the end of that same century and Vernaccia Nera became an extremely local grape which nearly vanished. It took almost a hundred years for this grape variety to finally have a renaissance. New techniques, methods and a growing strong willingness to revive this so deeply enrooted grape by the middle of the 90's, brought the resurgence of this variety.

Vernaccia di Serrapetrona apparently comes in two red Spumante (slightly fizzy) versions: a dry and a sweet. Here is my dilemma, when I tried the wine, unless I tried it after a few hours of opening (which I don't think so, because usually Jan D'Amore always bring me closed bottles), the wine appeared to me to be dry for sure, but with no trace of fuzziness....???

Intrigued, I kept searching the net and Googling the name and always found the same result: Vernaccia di Serrapetrona is red (for sure), made from at least 90-95% of Vernaccia Nera with little addition of local or international red grapes (no doubt), and dry or sweet, usually presents tiny bubbles....Go figure! (I will have to ask my friend Jan).

To try to understand, I went to their website (, and unfortunately for me, they do not have the English version working yet. So first, I tried to translate it but my Italian is poor and despite my efforts, I think I was making my own sauce rather than translating it the proper way.

Fortunately, an other website ( representing the "Marche Export Consortium of Typical Agricultural and Food products" came to my rescue and gave me the answer (or should I say: the properly translated version of it). The following info were taken from the above website:

"Colli di Serrapetrona farm was founded with the aim to implement a unique project to rediscover "still" Vernaccia wine (here is my answer), obtained from an autochthonous vine. The wines produced are the result of an initiative that aimed to promote the territory and its history and rediscover its traditions. The oenologist, Frederico Giotto, a young and enthusiastic expert, led this research and studied the vines and the winemaking processes."

The farm's vineyards are planted on the hill slopes surrounding the small village of Serrapetrona. Careful selection and excellent vineyards' management and winemaking are the key to obtain these rare little gems of intense aromas, flavors and sensations.

Made from about 95-100% Vernaccia Nera (and depending on the vintage about 5% Merlot), this wine spent 10 months in stainless steel tanks, didn't see any oak and spent another 2 months in the bottle before released.

2007 Colli di Serrapetrona Collequanto Vernaccia Nera Marche has a fairly intense ruby color. The expressive nose exposes aromas of flowers, lavender, spice, crushed green pepper and ripe red wild cherry. The palate presents darker fruit flavors, like cassis and blueberry, with more earthy tones and slightly green notes in a juicy and very enjoyable way. Balanced, medium to light, this wine has certain elegance with a lot of character and personality. I liked it a lot. Light, earthy and inviting, with integrated tannins and bright, refreshing acidity, it is an ideal mid-season and summer red wine. Pair it with poultry, grilled red meat, salami and other charcuterie. Grilled duck with wild herbs served with panned potatoes and mushrooms...


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