Founded in 1971, Cantine Belisario is the biggest producer of Verdicchio di Matelica DOC, an excellent value and dangerously quaffable little wine. Mostly in the shadow of its neighbour Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC growers in the Matelica area have struggled to market their products to the same extent, failing to create the same brand awareness that Verdicchio dei castelli di Jesi DOC enjoys. The Riserva classification of both of these wines however enjoys DOCG status, the highest statement of quality recognised in the Italian wine trade. Many years ago Verdicchio was less regarded, considered to be capable of producing only acidic and rather uninspiring whites that were largely undrinkable and rarely suitable for export. Today though Verdicchio is one of the most exciting white grape varieties in Italy, making flavoursome, yet crisp and refreshing wines that are incredibly versatile.
Belisario, with 300 hectares of vineyard has led the way in terms of production for some time in Matelica. All of the vineyards are situated close, within ten minutes, to the cantina meaning a close relationship with the growers ensures good quality fruit, while economies of scale mean that their products are often exceptional value.
My first encounter with Belisario’s Verdicchio came after a hard days work (hard enough to merit another pulled cork) and was duly snatched from the cellar and set alongside a quickly rustled up Spaghetti allo scoglio. Thirty minutes later both food and wine had disappeared, demonstrating the easy drinking danger that faces partakers of this little wine. On the nose it showed good crisp citrus fruit, notably a distinctive fragrance of ripe green apple and aromas of broom and Acacia flowers . On the palate a refreshing, dry backbone of acidity leaves the wine with a very drinkable structure while subtly demonstrating delicate flavours of zesty lemon and peaches. Very easy drinking and outstanding value – definitely the kind of wine that gets ordered by the case.