Coroncino "Gaiospino" Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi '17
Verdicchio could be Italy’s most complex white grape variety. Indigenous to the Marche region, it has been grown here since at least the 14th century. Even further back, over 200 million years ago, today’s vineyards were under water, and as a result the soils are mineral rich with marine fossils. The modern history of Verdicchio began in the early 1980s, when subregions such as Castelli dei Jesi gained notoriety in Italy and then abroad. By the 1990s, many wine enthusiasts recognized that Verdicchio was a fresh wine well suited to drinking with many foods and one that could age and gain in complexity.
This month we’re featuring one of the best artisan producers of Verdicchio, Fattoria Coroncino. Located in Staffolo, in the heart of the Castelli dei Jesi zone, the winery was founded by Lucio and Fiorella Canestrari in 1981. The family owns around 17 hectares of vineyards and produce about 50,000 bottles a year, the majority of which is consumed locally in the the best restaurants of the region. Since the winery’s inception, the family has practiced organic viticulture. It didn’t take a trend for Lucio to understand that the best grapes come from deep-rooted, organically grown vines. More than 40 years later, his son Vale has taken over, and applies the same principles he learned from his father. No machinery is used in the vineyards, and in the winery only wild yeasts are used for fermentation.
“Gaiospino” is produced from grapes harvested from the Spesia vineyard, on a steep, semi-terraced slope, in the village of Cupramontana. About 25% of the wine is fermented in used 500-liter oak barrels, remaining on its lees in barrel for 16-18 months. It’s incredibly aromatic, with notes of ripe melon, citrus peel, herbs, and bitter almond on the nose and the palate. Structurally, it’s full bodied, bold, and textural, with a creamy midpalate. Overall, it’s deeply mineral and complex. Pairing any of Coroncino’s Verdicchios with the right foods is important, and it’s best to keep the choices simple—freshly shucked oysters, steamed mussels, or a hard sheep’s milk cheese.
On a personal note, this past year we lost Lucio to cancer. Not only was he an influential producer and a mentor to many great winemakers in the Marche, he was also an incredible human being. Funny, full of life, and a tell-it-like-it-is type of guy. Lucio, you will be missed!
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