2021 La Staffa Verdicchio Dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore, Marche, Italy (750ml)
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Much that is written about wine by producers and importers sounds like it has been cranked out of a souless marketing department (with apologies to those offended by this generalzation), but there are those whose prose is honest and genuinely descriptive of the wines referenced. Such is the case with Oliver McCrum, one of our favorite importers. We can't improve on what he has said about La Staffa Verdicchio, so we hand the podium to him: "I love Verdicchio, and the bright, distinctive, intense Verdicchio di Matelica from Colle Stefano has been a staple of our selection for more than ten years. To my taste, much Verdicchio from the neighboring Castelli di Jesi appellation is mealy by comparison. But just to see if there were exceptions, I tasted through a slew of Jesi bottlings at Vinitaly, and the wine from an estate called La Staffa stuck out: it was vibrant, direct, very flavorful, complex and delicious.
La Staffa's young owner and enologist Riccardo Baldi was sharing a booth not far away, and I tasted through his whole line of wines, impressed by them and by his youthful enthusiasm (Riccardo is 24 and has already made 4 vintages). A week later, a visit to the vineyards and winery in the beautiful rolling hills outside the little town of Staffolo was equally impressive. (The Marche is one of Italy's most beautiful region, and the wine and food culture of the area should be better known.) Ian d'Agata, in his wonderful new book about Italian grapes*, says that Verdicchio is 'arguably Italy's greatest native white grape variety;' I don't know if I'd go quite that far, but I love the grape and have drunk a lot over the years. The combination of aromas and flavors (apple, citrus, almond, herbs) is different, the weight in the mouth is different, but both wines are excellent examples of a fine Italian native variety."