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Garofoli Winery, one of the oldest family-owned winemakers in Italy's Marche region, dates back to 1871 and still specializes in 100-percent single vineyard Verdicchio, a drier white varietal ranging from still to sparkling renowned for distinctive purity and verve. Way before the Garofolis took over, the winery's origins are rooted in the Middle Ages catering to local pilgrims streaming into the nearby Basilica della Santa Casa. The Bascilica still remains Europe's most visited pilgrimage churches today. Local legend has it that it was built around a small house said to be the birthplace of the Virgin Mary.
The Garofoli family’s estate vineyards cover a total of 128 acres situated in Montecarotto (Jesi area), Paterno and Piancarda (Monte Conero area), and Castelfidardo. In addition to Verdicchio, Garofoli's two production facilities at Castelfidardo and Montecarotto produce a sizable volume of Montepulciano-based red, Rosato, and some Sangiovese. Production techniques are constantly updated while respecting traditional winemaking methods that true to the unique terroir. The following tasting experiences provide a comprehensive sampling of Verdicchio's wide-ranging capabilities:
Grown in the commune of Montecarotto (province of Ancona) using the Double Guyot method to boost sustainability, vineyards are situated atop a long flat-topped hill reminiscent of a speaker's stand or podium. Vines average 15 years of age and vegan production yields a strong and determined spiciness leading to pear and pineapple on the palate with a very delicate buttery bouquet on the nose. A bright, clean minerality that's piercing yet light and playful on the finish clearly results from steel tank maturation.
The name "Macrina" derived from Saint Macrina, whose likeness was spotted in a votive shrine near the vineyard where people used to pray in the commune of Montecarotto in Ancona province. Now its geographic origins are most notable for distinctive clay soil packed with fossil shells and sand. One of the first Verdicchio wines produced in a Bordeaux-style bottle, Garofoli's Macrina has a decidedly more modern style than those once contained in amphora-shaped vessels. Using slightly late-harvested grapes giving it more body and longevity, you get clean, crisp aromatics on the nose along with a crisp minerality that allow this unoaked varietal to flourish. Its bracing yet not overly biting finish makes it a true palate cleanser in between a wide array of appetizers like charcuterie, soft cheeses, and main seafood dishes.
Located in one of Marche's top denominations for Montepulciano-based wines, the Piancarda vineyard is Garofoli's top source for this varietal, providing the most classic expression for this grape. "Piancarda" derived from Biancarda, the historic name of the area refers to its terroir of white (bianca) limestone-rich soil. Strong, rich, and clean on the palate, this wine maintains its astringency long into the finish.
Photos courtesy of DallaTerra.com. Coverage made possible by participating in a sponsored tasting.