Craving Spring? Whether you are still experiencing the random snow storm (enough already) or like here in the South, one day in the 80’s and the next morning freezing. We are all ready for Spring weather and the fresh lighter foods including the wines we drink that come with those warmer Spring days. If you haven’t tried Verdicchio, a white wine grape variety grown primarily in the Marche region of central Italy, Spring with all the fresh flavors, is the time to open a bottle of Verdicchio.
A Few Key Points About Verdicchio from Marche
- Flavor Profile
Citrus notes of mandarin, lemon, or grapefruit, bitter almond when young, sweet marzipan as it ages, high acidity, light to medium body. DOCG Verdicchio exhibits more complexity and structure for aging.
- Two DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) for Verdicchio in Marche;
Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi – located in north central Marche, open to the sea, higher volume production compared to Verdicchio di Matelica, soils rich in clay and skeletal deposits
Verdicchio di Materica – located in the western center of Marche near the Apennine Mountains and the border of Umbria, compared to Verdicchio dei Castello di Jesi the region is smaller with vineyards in higher elevations, soils are rich in minerals
- Two DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) in Marche;
Castelli di Jesi Verdicchio Riserva DOCG
Verdicchio di Materica Riserva DOCG undergoes a minimum of 18 months’ aging before release
- Food Pairings
Seafood, poultry, fresh vegetable dishes, and fresh cheeses
Tasting Notes of Two Verdicchhio dei Castello di Jesi DOC
2015 Umani Ronchi CaSal di Serra, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC
13% abv |$19.99 (wine.com) | 100% Verdicchio
Vineyard: Located on the hillsides in the Esino valley, 200-350 meters above sea level, the vines are eight to thirty years old and trained on the Guyot system
Soil: Date back to the Pliocene-Pleistocene formations, very deep with medium-calcareous clay loam
Yield: Does not exceed 7 tons per hectare
Harvest: By hand, usually end of September early October
Vinification: Light press, cooled and went through static decantation. Fermentation in steel tanks for 10-15 days, for the most part, the wine does not go through malolactic fermentation, aged in steel for 5 months in contact with its own yeasts. Bottled at the end of April and rests for an additional several months.
Pale lemon in color with a floral nose. Medium to light in body with juicy medium/high acidity. Notes of fresh lemon citrus, honeydew melon, jasmine, and apple.
Food Pairing: Spring Vegetable Cacio e Pepe with Hot Smoked Salmon- The fresh Spring vegetables are echoed in the freshness of the wine with the wine’s acidity cutting through the richness of the cheeses, matching the sharp tart Pecorino Romano cheese, and the smoky, slightly salty smoked salmon. (recipe below)
2014 Garofoli Podium Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore
14% abv | $26.99 (wine.com) | 100% Verdicchio
Vineyard: Owned by the winery in the village of Montecarotto
Soil: Medium consistency with streaks of clay
Yield: 7.7 tons per hectare
Harvest: Low yield per acre of selected grapes that are slightly overripe
Vinification: Soft pressing of whole grapes, cold settling of the must and fermented at low temperatures. Aged in stainless vats for 15 months and then bottled and additional refinement for four months.
Light lemon in color with a green hue. Medium body with a smooth honey like texture, low/medium acidity. Notes of mandarin citrus, beeswax, almond and a nice lingering minerality finish.
Food Pairing: Sweet Pea Pancakes with Crab and Red Onion Crème Fraîche – The rich, smooth texture in the wine is a nice complement to the creamy crème fraîche. The minerality notes found in the wine are met with the earthy characteristics of the fresh lettuce and onion. The wine’s acidity balances the sweetness in the sweet peas and crab making for an overall refreshing pairing.(recipe below)
Spring Vegetable Cacio e Pepe with Hot Smoked Salmon
- 8 oz spaghetti
- 1 lb thin asparagus, snapping the bottom off (save for making stock) and cutting the remaining top section into 1-inch pieces
- 2/3 cup sweet green peas
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 oz young Pecorino, such as Pecorino Toscano, shredded plus more for serving
- 1 oz. Pecorino Romano, shredded plus more for serving
- 2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated plus more for serving
- 1/3 lb. hot smoked salmon, flaked
- Kosher coarse sea salt
- extra virgin olive oil for serving
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and the spaghetti. Cook according to package directions less 2 minutes. (the pasta will finish cooking in the sauce). A minute before the pasta is done, add the asparagus and peas. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and then drain.
- In a large skillet, melt one tablespoon of butter and add the black pepper. Sauté for about 1 minute or until fragrant. Add 1/4 cup of the pasta water and the remaining one tablespoon of butter. Simmer for about 30 seconds, stirring until the butter is melted.
- Add the cooked spaghetti, peas, asparagus, and all three cheeses. Stirring until the cheeses are melted. Add more pasta water if mixture seems too dry. Taste for seasoning and that the spaghetti is tender.
- To serve, portion into individual bowls topping with some flaked smoked salmon, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, extra cheese and more freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Sweet Pea Pancakes with Crab and Red Onion Crème Fraîche
- 1 heaping tablespoon red onion, finely diced
- 3/4 cup crème fraîche
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 lb. lump crab meat
- 1/2 cup sugar snap peas, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Italian style parsley, finely chopped
- 18 sweet pea pancakes (recipe follows)
- 1 bunch mix spring greens
- Kosher sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a small bowl of ice water add the diced red onion. (This will mellow the harshness of the onion). Let sit for about 5 minutes. Dry the onion well with paper towels.
- In a small bowl, mix together the red onion, crème fraîche, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper.
- In a large shallow bowl, toss the crab meat with 3 tablespoons of the crème fraîche mixture, the sugar snap pea slices, 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, and the parsley. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
- Arrange 3 pancakes on 6 plates (or 18 on a large platter), top each pancake with a spoonful of the crab mixture. Arrange salad leaves around the plate and top each pancake with a dollop of the crème fraîche mixture. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Sweet Pea Pancakes
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cups fresh sweet green peas (or frozen)
- 1 extra-large egg
- 1 extra-large egg yolk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose unbleached flour
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- In a small frying pan, melt 1-1/2 tablespoons butter over medium heat until butter browns and smells nutty, about 2-3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Blanch peas in boiling water for about 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl with ice water to cool. Drain the peas and dry well. Transfer the peas to a food processor and purée to a chunky texture. Add the egg, egg yolk, and heavy cream. Purée until just under a smooth texture.
- In a medium bowl, add the pea purée and whisk in the flour, brown butter, 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.
- Heat a large frying pan over high heat, add 1 tablespoon of butter. Melt the butter and then turn heat down to medium. Ladle a tablespoon of batter for each pancake into the pan. Cook for about 4 minutes or until edges turn golden brown and then flip and cook the other side for about 3 minutes. Repeat with the remaining batter, add more butter to pan if needed.
Learn more about Verdicchio from my fellow Italian Food, Wine, & Travel bloggers and their blog posts listed below. And join our conversation on Twitter Saturday, April 7th at 11:00am ET following the hashtag #ItalianFWT. Cheers!
- Jeff at FoodWineClick! gives us a A Wine Pairing Lesson with Verdicchio.
- Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla pours Bisci Verdicchio di Matelica with a Panzanella di Primavera.
- Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm serves up Scallop Crudo with Verdicchio.
- Katarina at Grapevine Adventures offers a Multinational Spring Lunch with Verdicchio.
- Jane at Always Ravenous shares Verdicchio Paired with the Flavors of Spring.
- Nicole at Somm’s Table posts Cooking to the Wine: Azienda Santa Barbara Verdicchio and Tuna Melts.
Lauren at The Swirling Dervish pairs Verdicchio and Roasted Vegetables: A Match Made in Heaven.
- Lynn at Savor the Harvest has A Spring Date With Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi.
- Susannah of Avvinare listens as Verdicchio Sings of Spring.
- Jennifer of Vino Travels shares Verdicchio of the Marche with Tenuta di Tavignano.