- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Sartarelli, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico, 2002, $13

The medieval hill town of Jesi, in the Marche region of eastern Italy, overlooks rolling vineyards planted to verdicchio grapes and gives its name to the wines made from them.

Although often thought of as a simple country white, today’s Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi can display impressive subtlety, with a delicate bouquet and intriguing, nuanced flavors. Clean and bright, this rendition from Sartarelli provides delicious warm-weather drinking.

The improved quality of Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi parallels the evolution of Italian white wine in general during the past two decades. Due in large measure to the advent of temperature-controlled, stainless steel fermentations, wines that used to be dully oxidative now taste fresh and lively. No matter north or south, east or west, Italian whites are better than ever before.

What makes Italian whites especially exciting is the wealth of native grapes in the country. If you are looking for new aromas and flavors this summer, Italy is the place to go.

This wine tastes both fruity and savory, with flavors reminiscent of apples and pears, as well as dried herbs and smoked nuts. Multilayered and substantial, it has plenty of crisp acidity and never feels heavy. In Jesi, people often drink verdicchio with grilled fish, as the Adriatic is only about 20 miles away. Seafood would be a good choice here, too, as would roast chicken or even chicken salad on a hot, steamy evening. (Vias Imports)

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