I have been on a wine education quest for a while to try different wine varietals and explore various wine growing regions. Every Wednesday I tweet, share, and post on social media my #WineWednesday wine. It’s fun, I try different wines and cook up dinner around that my #WineWednesday wine selection. All in the name of wine education!
The last few weeks, I have participated in a social media wine education program on Twitter and Facebook conducted and organized by Protocol Wine Studio. Every month a new wine region/topic is explored through cultural, geographic, and a wine tasting perspective. What is really great is anyone can join in on the conversation, you just need a Facebook and Twitter account. (Tuesdays 9:00-10:00 EST on Twitter hashtag #winestudio).
This month #winestudio has been exploring the wines from Marche and Umbria Italy. We started with a map of Italy and guest Suzi V Perez of Vinmaps. Actually looking at a map of Italy and seeing where Marche and Umbria are located, the geographical features and climate of the region gave me a better understanding of what to expect from the wines.
What I have learned so far
- Marche is home to over 324 wineries
- The Marche region is comprised of rolling hills of limestone and mineral rich clay
- Most vineyards in Marche are located within 20 miles of the Adriatic
- Verdicchio grape is native to Marche, has varietal character, and aging potential
- There are 4 types of Verdiccho: Verdicchio del Castello di Jesi DOC, Reserve DOCG, Verdicchio di Materica DOC and Riserva DOCG (the first two are considered best as aperitivo (happy hour) wines and the latter two as dinner wines) Riserva=aged in oak at least 2 years
- Trebbiano grape is more neutral and often a blending grape
- Montepulciano grape is native to Marche, Umbria and Abruzzo
This week we tasted three wines from Cantina dei Colli Ripani a wine cooperative of 330 growers located in Marche. Each of the growers has no more than 12 acres of vineyards. The small vineyard size per grower allows for attention to detail resulting in a quality product.
Jonathan Zeiger founder of ZGR Imports and Wines of Marche lead us through the tasting. The following are my tasting notes.
Colli Ripani 2014 Trebbiano IGT – 100% Trebbiano – 12% abv – retail $10.00
Look: Clear, pale golden straw color
Nose: Slight pineapple with minerals
Taste: Light to medium body with a soft full month feel. Hints of tropical fruit and lemon with some mineral notes.
Opinion: This Trebbiano reminded me of a lighter style Chardonnay. Very drinkable and an incredible value. Pasta, chicken or seafood dishes would make nice pairings.
Colli Ripani 2014 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC – 100% Verdicchio – 12.5% abv – retail $12.00
Look: Clear, pale straw color
Nose: Light floral and citrus
Taste: A light body lean wine with a nice acidity and citrus notes. A hint of bitter almond at the end.
Opinion: Again a great value wine. Perfect as an aperitif or as served regionally in Marche with seafood.
Colli Ripani 2014 Rosso Piceno DOC – 50% Montepulciano & 50% Sangiovese – 13% abv – retail $11.00
Look: Ruby color
Nose: Red fruits
Taste: A light to medium body, plummy and red berry flavors with a nice balance of tannins.
Opinion: Yes, a complete line up of Italian value wines. A very easy to drink food friendly wine. I would pair this with pasta, pork, or chicken.
Tasting and learning more about Italian wines made me hungry for Italian food. I tried a few different savory bites but ended up craving a pasta with seafood to pair with the Trebbianno and Verdicchio.
Pasta with Shrimp and Zucchini
- 1-1/2 lb. large shrimp peeled and deveined
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 medium zucchini halved and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 cups pasta sauce I used Rao's Homemade Tomato Basil Sauce
- 1 lb. dried farfalle pasta
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons fresh Italian flat leaf parsley chopped
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive for sautéing breadcrumbs
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the shrimp and cook for 1 minute per side. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the red pepper flakes, thyme, rosemary, zucchini, and garlic to the shrimp. Sauté everything together for about 1 minute. Add tomato sauce and continue to cook for another 3 minutes or until zucchini is a bit translucent but still has some crunch and the shrimp are opaque. Remove from heat.
- Cook pasta until al dente. Drain.
- While the pasta is cooking, in a small to medium sauté pan heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over medium heat, add panko crumbs, salt and pepper and toast until golden. Set aside.
- Add the pasta to the shrimp mixture and combine well. Squeeze the lemon juice over the pasta and add butter and parsley.
- Sprinkle with panko crumbs.
Disclosure: The importer provided the wines for my evaluation. All the opinions expressed are my own.