Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Update: New Vintages

In this piece on the new wines of the Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, among Italy’s best white wines, Ian D’Agata looks at what’s new but also how well these wines age from that neck of the woods.
by Ian D’Agata

Verdicchio is one of Italy’s three or four best native white wine grapes. That statement might come as a bit of a surprise to readers who might still have memories of thin wines bottled in fish-shaped and amphora-shaped bottles, but in fact Verdicchio is, in the hands of passionate, competent producers, very serious juice. In fact, just how good Verdicchio wine can be is well shown by the realization that even the wine contained in those dubious-shaped containers was always much better than it had any right to be. Best of all, there is a large nucleus of quality-minded youngish producers that are trying hard to elevate Verdicchio’s status, and that of its wines, in world wine circles, and their excellent wines are certainly but one good step in the right direction that they have embarked on. More on this below.

The grape and the wines

Verdicchio is a native grape of the Marche. It also grows in Veneto, where it is known as Trebbiano di Soave, but in fact the latter has to be considered its own distinct grape variety. This is because Trebbiano di Soave has lived in Veneto for hundreds of years and has adapted to a completely different habitat where it gives different wines from those made with Verdicchio in the Marche. A good Verdicchio wine will remind you of fresh citrus fruit, white flowers, herbs and characteristically, especially when the grapes are harvested later in the season, a strong note of almond. Best of all, Verdicchio wines age effortlessly, such that twenty years old Verdicchio wines are a thing of beauty; in fact, they are amongst Italy’s oldest lived white wines. When I have friends taste Verdicchio wines that are fifteen or twenty years old they remain open-mouthed, surprised at both the good ness and age-worthiness of the wine.

Verdicchio can be used to make all types of wines, from sparkling to classically dry, to late harvest and Passito (air-dried) examples. All have their charms and each boasts world-class examples within their ranks. This plasticity of the grape is yet another feather in its cap, and along with its age-worthiness it makes Verdicchio a fairly unique wine grape indeed. The two best-known Verdicchio wines are Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi and Verdicchio di Matelica, that though made with the same grape, are actually very different wines because of highly different terroirs respectively. (I will elaborate more on this when in my annual Marche wines new vintages update later this year.) For now, the exciting news and development is that the Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi producers have lobbied hard to change the name of their DOCG-level wines to “Castelli di Jesi” and “Castelli di Jesi Riserva” in an effort to place greater attention on their specific terroir, rather than the grape itself. They reason that not only can Verdicchio be grown anywhere if one so wishes to try his or her hand at it, but that the Castelli di Jesi terroir is unique and only they have it. In other words, their area yields an expression of Verdicchio wine quite unlike any other. For this reason, they also plan to come up with a zonation much like that of Barolo or Chianti Classcio with MGAS or UGA-like districts in which wiens will be identified also by commune pf provenance, such as is the case with the La Morra Barolos and the Radda Chianti Classicos. Add to all this the presence of castles, palatial villas, a uniquely beautiful panorama and you begin to understand their thinking. Clearly, producers will still be able to use the word “Verdicchio” on their label should they so wish to do, and that in itself is important too: while the Castelli di Jesi territory is undoubtedly a unique one, it is also true that Verdicchio itself, as mentioned previously, is unique too, such that the sum of the parts is probably greater than the individual components. Many producers do plan on keeping the word Verdicchio around, if only on the back label, because they realize that it is helpful for consumers world-wide to zero in on what the wine they are buying will be like. Clearly, the presence of so much industrially made, rather thin, neutral and uninteresting Verdicchio wine made by bigger outfits tends to ruin the reputation of all Verdicchio wine, and so it is easy to understand why quality producers are trying to distance themselves from the generically-named Verdicchio wine that soils their wine’s and grape’s reputation. At the same time, the risk when trying something new is of throwing the baby out with the bath water, but it seems to me that producers are well aware of Verdicchio’s unique charms. It is just that for the time being most would like to divert attention to their terroir and the higher-quality wines made there (such as the DOCG wines ought to be). If they play their cards well, upholding the virtues of both, grape and terroir, their intent ought to be met with success, because the wines really are quite good indeed.

 The wines in this tasting

All the wines in this report were tasted by me in Rome in January 2024.


Located in Arceria, a biological wine producer (made from organically-grown grapes), that started out in 2012 when the current owner took over from his grandfather. The winery makes mostly traditional method bubblies and even a skins-macerated wine aged in terracotta amphoras (about 70% of the 30,000 annual production is made up of bubblies).

Broccanera 2017 Spumante Metodo Classico Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Dosaggio Zero           90

Bright medium-yellow colour. Big Sauvignon-like notes of grass and green fruit at first then clean fresh very tactile grapefruit, apple, pear aromas and flavours. Enters fruity with ripe citrus notes, then turns saline and herbal finishing long and mouthcoating but not gritty. Anise and grilled nuts add complexity on the back end. Spent 60 months on the lees. A very good result in a very hot, very droughty year, in which the winery started the harvest on August 6 picking the grapes only in the early morning. Drinking window: 2024-2026.

Broccanera 2018 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Riserva Zirro             90

Medium straw colour. Tea leaf and some natural funk on the nose, but not unbearably smelly like some other natural wines. Enters earthy at first, then apple, pear and cinnamon flavours brighten up the mouth. Resiny and tactile on the long cool finish. This spent 30 months on the lees. Drinking window: 2024-2028.

Br 2020 Marche Bianco Vinificato in anfora Cana             89  

Medium bright yellow. Olive, African spices, tomato and horseradish nuances are clean and penetrating. Then slightly earthy in the mouth, with hints of quinine and tomato leaf, this spent 8 months on the lees and was bottled with no added sulfites. Drinking window: 2024-2026.


Bucci 2022 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico             88

Luminous straw yellow. Slightly simple and reticent aromas and flavours of orchard and citrus fruit, but this seems to lack the depth and lift of Bucci’s greatest vintages of this wine. Not at all a bad wine but I would have liked more vibrancy. Drinking window: 2024-2029.

Bucci 2021 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico             93

Bright straw. Perfumed, piercing aromas and flavours of green apple, tangerine, almond paste and lemon curd. Then similar flavours in the mouth, with plenty of harmonious acidity nicely lifting and extending the flavours on the long multifaceted back end. The close is clean fresh and long, and features  real mineral tang. Just lovely. Drinking window: 2024-2034.

Bucci 2020 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Riserva       92+

Bright straw green. Very pretty and long aromas and flavours of white peach, white flowers and mint. Fresh long and just slightly subdued presently, so cellar this a good five years before pulling its cork. Drinking window: 2027-2037.

Bucci 2019 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Riserva          96

Luminous straw-green with some gold. Precise focused nectarine, lemon curd, almond paste and minerals on the nose and in the mouth. Richer riper longer than the 2020 Riserva, this multilayered, fresh and outstanding Verdcchio wine is just a really great wine, very long precise and penetrating Just fantastic. Drinking window: 2026-2039.

Col di Corte.

Col di Corte 2022 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Anno Uno                   91

Medium pale yellow. Aromas of apricot and pear with hints of chlorophyll and fennel. Enters very fruity if just a tad simple, and finishes just a tad hot on the finish. Organically grown grapes are almost biodynamically farmed. Very nice wine. Drinking window: 2024-2028.

Col di Corte 2022 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Vigneto di Tobia                  92

Medium-deep straw. Ripe aromas of spicy herbs, peach and pear, with hints of almond paste. Then similar flavours in the mouth, with a nicely textured mouthfeel. Clean long and almost salty on the refreshing back end.

Col di Corte 2020 Marche Bianco Sant’Ansovino             90

Deep yellow colour. Aromas and flavours are rich and dense, with some hints of grapefruit and papaya emerging slowly with air. From the estate’s oldest vines, grown between 200-250 meters asl, this is made with grapes that are trained differently than the other Verdicchio wines. Drinking window: 2024-2027.

La Staffa.

One of Italy’s best relatively young wineries that has quickly emerged as one of the leaders in quality Verdicchio wine production, La Staffa makes about 60000 bottles from fourteen hectares under vine.

La Staffa

La Staffa 2022 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore                       92

Joyous bright straw-green. This is really excellent: long clean and saline but with lots of mouthcoating texture and depth, this utterly suave very dense Verdicchio wine is just an amazing buy for an entry-level offering. The vines were planted between 1972 and 2010 so they all need to be harvested at different times. Drinking window: 2024-2029.

La Staffa 2020 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Riserva  Rincrocca                       95

Very fresh aromas and flavours of citrus fruit, are boldened by a strong saline undercurrent. Closes very long, almost cutting in its lemony acidity that really provides lift. The grapes for this wine are sourced from vines planted in 1972 at 420 meters asl; the wine features one year aging in concrete tanks on the lees, and is a very traditional wine from Staffolo, with calcium carbonate soils rich in limestone allowing for some really splendid wines to be made. Drinking window: 2024-2033.

La Staffa 2019 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Riserva Selva di Sotto                         93

Golden tinged pale straw. Pear, mango and citrus fruit on the knockout nose. Richer and riper than any other wine from La Staffa, this finishes long, suave and tactile. The vines grow at about 500 meters asl and is the highest vineyard in Staffolo vineyard where the soil shows much limestone with lots of sandstone. The vines are totally surroudned by a forest and so they bask in a much cooler microclimate. Drinking window: 2024-2032.

La Staffa 2015 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Riserva Selva di Sotto                           94

Golden-tinged yellow. Almond paste and fresh orchard fruit on the nose and in the mouth, with ahint oif almonds and preserved lemons adding interest. Salty long and very mellow, this is the first ever vintage for what has turned out to be one of the quality leaders among Verdicchio wines. A year of concentrated wines, the 2015 vintage was a good one for both white and red wines, with regular rain in May and August, then slightly higher temps the rest of the summer but harvest time was temperate and dry. Drinking window: 2024-2032.

Marotti Campi.

Located in the Sant’Amico fraction of Morro d’Alba, Marotti Campi’s wine benefit from being relatively close to the sea so that the area’s mesoclimate is slightly fresher than the rest of the Morra d’Alba territory, known for giving bigger, layered Verdicchio wines. The winery is best known for being Italy’s numero uno in Lacrima di morro d’Alba production, a marvelous dry aromatic red wine, but in fact it is Verdicchio it makes the most of. It farms about 70 hectares (30 of which are of Verdicchio): similarly, of the 300,000 annual bottles produced, 200,000 are of Verdicchio.

Marotti Campi 2022 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Luzano                        93

Translucent straw yellow. Lime, nectarine, almond paste, chlorophyll, anise and pear on the captivating fresh nose and mouth. Very elegant long and fresh, this is both refined and beautiful. Luzano may be an entry-level wine, but it atstes like anything but: it also ages splendidly, for example the 2016 is drinking beautifully now. Stainless steel only old made from vineyards ranging in age from 35-55 years of age, this spnet six months on the lees without batonnage. The first vintage of 1999. Drinking window: 2024-2030.

Marotti Campi 2022 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Volo d’Autunno                         91

Not late harvested, though ti looks a little more gold in colour than the Luzano. Honeyed greapfruit peel, pink grapefruit pulp, and white flowers dominate on the nose and in the mouth. Then tactile, tough and saline, but finishes long, clean and fresh with a twinge of bitterness on the repeating, earthy tactile close. Spent five months on the skins and is vinified in stainless steel only. First made in 2019. Drinking window: 2024-2028.

Marotti Campi 2020 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Salmariano                        94

Vivid straw-green. Minerals, pear, apple, white flowers and almond aromas and flavours. Saline, long and very clean, this very broad wine is very Verdicchio from start to finish. A benchmark wine for the variety, in fact,a nd it ages amazingly well, with twelve-fifteen  years old wines drinking splendidly. Drinking window: 2024-2036.

Marotti Campi 2017 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Salmariano                       95

Deep straw. Captivating aromas and flavours of orchard fruit, minerals, minty herbs and pot pourri. The lemony finish features excellent length, cut and clarity. Really outstanding Verdicchio wine made from a horrifically hot year, something that showcases the relatively cool mesocliamate of the territory in which Marotti campi farms its vines. Drinking window: 2024-2032.


Mirizzi NV Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Spumante Metodo Classico 68 Extra Brut                       91

Apple, pear and herbs leave the mouth feeling fresh and clean. Lots of juiciness and lift, here. Bright easygoing long and clean, this is an uncommonly good bubbly at this price point. Very well done. Disgorged summer 2022. Drinking window: 2024-2032.

Mirizzi 2016 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Met Classico Pas Dosé                        94

Pale golden-tinged yellow. Drop-dead gorgeous aromas and flavours of minerals, green apple, orange peel, herbs and white flowers,. At once complex and easy to drink, this finishes longf and layered. Great bubbly. Disgorged summer 2022. Drinking window: 2024-2032.

Mirizzi 2016 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Riserva Ergo sum                 94

Big bold and rich, featuring dense saline ripe tropical fruit aromas and flavours, this finishes long and textured. Drinking window: 2024-2032.


An historic estate of the Marche, it boasts about 47 hectares of vines, 17 hectares of olive trees and makes about  150-250,000 bottles a year of top-quality wines that are priced very fairly.

Montecappone 2022 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico                            91

Bright straw colour. Enters lightly sweet and delicate, then tuirns with a noteworthy bittersweet edge rising on the long simple back end. Lovely wine that leaves a trail of sweet banana. Drinking window: 2024-2032.

Montecappone 2019 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Riserva Utopia                          92

Bright starw. Cut grass, grapefruit, and pear on the nsoe and in the mouth. A trace of honey adds interest on the loong multilayered finish that is risngly lery lemony. About 20% was aged in oak. From Staffolo grapes. Drinking window: 2024-2030.


About 32 hectares of vines in Majolati Spontini, San Paolo di Jesi, Cupramontana and Montecarotto (some of the very best communes of the Jesi denomination), the estate features organic and biodynamic farming since 2005. About 150,000 bottles/year made.

Pievalta 2022 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Tre Ripe                       93

Medium-deep yellow. Big serious but elegant wine that finishes long with notes of apple cider and pineapple. Vinified in both steel and cement. Drinking window: 2024-2030.

Pievalta 2021 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Dominè                    91

Cider-ish in a natural wine-way on the nose which may not be for everyone. Then rich and dense, even tannic (oaky?) on the herbal-accented long finish. Slightly macerated for ten days on the skins in steel, cement and oak (50% large 20 HL barrels). Drinking window: 2024-2030.

Pievalta 2021 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Riserva Classico San Paolo               92

Bright starw gold. Rich aromas of spices, white flowers, cumin and pear. Then big and rich with a vanilla-laced set of orchard fruit and caramel flaours. The aftertaste is suave and clean. San Paolo di Jesi grapes grown on five hectares, from 2019 there’s part of this aged in large barrel (20%) and cement, while before it was steel only. Drinking window: 2024-2031.

Pievalta 2016 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Riserva Classico San Paolo                91

Deep straw yellow. Apple and grapefruit peel with a hint of sweet spices. Slightly tougher tannins here on the long textured finish. This was vinified only in stainless steel back then. Drinking window: 2024-2030.


Sartarelli 2021 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Riserva Milletta                  92

Pale bright straw-green. Very good, straightforward delivery of savoury saline aromas and flavours of apple, white flwoers and pear, with a hint of mint. Very long clean fresh. Drinking window: 2024-2031.

Sartarelli 2021 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Superiore Balciana                                93

Luminous straw golden. Fresh and clean, with focused aromas and flavours of honeyed ginger, pineapple and orange. Closes long and  spicy, with just a touch bitterness and orange zest notes. Late harvested single vineyard wine that is very serious. Even though I know off-dry wines sell less well nowadays, I still think that Balciana is best when it has a little more residual sugar in it, as I find those wines to have better overall balance. Still, this is one of Italy’s best white wines. Drinking window: 2024-2033.

Tenuta dell’Ugolino

Located in Castelplanio, but with vines in other communes too,  there are 12.5 hectares  and 80,000 bottles/ year made.

Tenuta dell’Ugolino 2022 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Superiore Le Piaole                               92

Good full pale yellow. Aromas of white flowers, citrus fruit and herbs on the inviting nose. Fresh, long, bright and lemony, with flavours that are similar to the aromas, this is lovely. Drinking window: 2024-2030.

Tenuta dell’Ugolino 2022 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Vigneto del Balluccio                    93

Bright golden-tinged yellow. Deep aromas of lemon balm, apple pie, almond pste and tangerine. More saline and savoury than the Le Piaiole, this is thick rich and really quite good. Extremely long on the layered textured finish. Natural yeasts, nine months in stainless steel and five to six more in bottle before going on sale are part of this wine’s sellinbg points. Balluccio is the name of the grandfather of the current owner: the name balluccio is from “ballo” or dance because he liked to roganzie parties where people appropriately enough dansed. Drinking window: 2024-2033.

Tenuta dell’Ugolino 2015 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Vigneto del Balluccio                        94

Bright deep straw gold colour. Intense aroms of almond paste, lemon curd, lime jelly, and herbs. Full-bodied, with a nicely textured, chewy lemony nuance. Rich citrus and ripe, this long, clean wine closes very impressively with an intriguing saline nuance. Drinking window: 2024-2031.

Tenuta di Tavignano.

About 34 hectares and 150000 bottles made, the estate is now certified bio.

Tenuta di Tavignano 2022 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Misco                      92

Luminous straw-green. Chamomile, lemon tea and apple on the nose and in the mouth. Clean fresh long, this is not unlike a saline-tnged fruit cocktail. Some herbs add interest to what is a very good wine. The grapes have a southeast exposure so that they are picked fully ripe (the last white grapes picked at the winery); aged 12 months in stainless steel without batonnage because the structuie of the wine is big enough as it is (usually the case with Verdicchio). Drinking window: 2024-2031.

Tenuta di Tavignano 2019 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Misco                       93

Big ripe long clean and fresh with notes of pineapple and other tropical fruit lasting long. Grapes were harvested about 3-7 days later than usual for the Riserva. Stays two years in stainless steel and two more in bottle prior to going on sale. Drinking window: 2024-2033.

Vallerosa Bonci

This historic Marche estate is famous for its Verdicchio-only wines and for being a pioneer of sparkling Verdicchio wines. They are abandoning the Charmat method however, preferring to concentrate on making just traditional method, crus and vintage wines. About thirteen hectares and 60,000 bottles/year.

Vallerosa Bonci 2013 Spumante Metodo Classico Dosaggio Zero Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Caterina                      91

Pale straw yellow. Bigb thick creamy aromas and flavours of lemon jelly, orange jam and herbs. Savoury and almondy on the long finish. Though this is thick and broad for a vallerosa Bonci wine, it is not the most powerful wine. Disgorged in 2023, this spent ten years on the lees, and was named after the daughter of the owners, Caterina. The 2013 vintage was a slightly warm and dry year, not unlike 2016, and u can tell just by tasting this rich ripe wine. Drinking window: 2024-2027.

Vallerosa Bonci 2021 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Vale                    92

Really very good. Vivid straw green. Enters fresh lemony then creamy long fresh and suave. Only cement vinified. First bottle in 1989, from grapes grown at 450 meters on level asl. The vines planted in 1970s. Drinking window: 2024-2031.

Vallerosa Bonci 2021 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Riserva Classico Pietrone                         93

Vibrabt starw green. Apple, nectarine and epar on the herb-accented nose and palate. Bright and fresh. Excellent, long and nsuave on the finish that features saline notes. First year only in cement no more barriques like it used to be (first made in 200) and I think the wine is better for it. Drinking window: 2024-2031.


In San Paolo di Jesi, the whole family works in the winery (three sons) in the winery that boasts 25 hectares and aproduction of about 150,000 bottles a year.

Vignamato 2022 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Versiano                  92

Brght straw yellow. Grapey on the nose, with hints of apple and pear, then very long and pretty on the finish that boasts similar flavours. Some hints of Sauvignon on the savoury finish might speak of the vineyards proximity to the sea (thirty minutes by car). Native yeasts here; the grapes are sourced from Majolati Spontini, Cupramontana and San Paolo di Jesi, so it’s a wine from three communes, vinified only in stainless steel (actually, a very little percentage in cement too). Very goofd. Drinking window: 2024-2029.

Vignamato 2020 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Riserva Classico Ambrosia                    92

Deep starw colour. Then deep aromas and flvours too of pear, apple, cumin and celeriac. Big long clean fresh and textured, this is another very good wine from Vignamato. The grapes come all from San Paolo, old vines that were planted in 1975. Drinking window: 2024-2031.

Vignamato 2019 Vino Bianco Amato                  91

Deep straw. Invbioting aromas and flvours of fennel, pear, apple, tangerine and mint. A riserva of a riserva of a wine made from a  small plot exposed north it was named in honour of the current owner’s father Amato, who only made one white and red wine, hence this wine’s category. Drinking window: 2024-2031.





Ian D'Agata

Editor-in-Chief of Terroir Sense Wine Review
President of Terroir Sense Academy
Vice President of Association Internationale des Terroirs
Chief Scientific Officer of TasteSpirit

Ian D’Agata has been writing and educating about wines for over thirty years. Internationally recognized as an distinguished expert, critic and writer on many wine regions, his two most recent, award winning books Native Wine Grapes of Italy and Italy's Native Wine Grape Terroirs (both published by University of California Press) are widely viewed as the "state of the art" textbooks on the subject. The former book won the Louis Roederer International Wine Awards Book of the Year in 2015 and was ranked as the top wine books of the year for the Los Angeles Times, the Financial Times and the New York Times, while the latter was named among the best wine books of the year by Food & Wine Magazine and the NY Times.

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