The Italian Verdicchio Our Sommelier Is Obsessed With

October 18, 2019
by Nicole Gulotta for Thrive Market
The Italian Verdicchio Our Sommelier Is Obsessed With

When winemaker Andrea Petrini’s father retired 40 years ago, the family patriarch bought a farmhouse on 20 acres of land to grow organic fruits and vegetables. After deciding to plant grapes as well, his new hobby evolved into a passion and the family began steadily transforming the farm from a side project to the award-winning Tenuta dell’Ugolino winery specializing in Verdicchio, a versatile white grape from Italy’s Marche region. We spoke with Petrini to learn more about the winery’s history, his favorite food pairings, and how the estate continues to evolve.

What’s your family’s winemaking background?

In my father’s “large garden”—as he called it—we planted our first vineyard. In the early years, we sold grapes to other wineries, but later, thanks to my brother Giuseppe, we decided to make our own wines. We were happy with the initial results and continued improving, especially by paying more attention to the quality of the grapes. In 1993, with the support of an agronomist and oenologist, we bottled our first table wine.

Tenuto del Ugolino Verdicchio

What farming practices are important to you?

Our philosophy has always been toward organic farming. This requires us to closely monitor the vines with an obsessive amount of attention paid to trimming, leaf coverage, and ripening.

Can you speak about your winemaking practices?

An obsessive approach to the vineyard also translates to the cellar, where we try to interpret the year’s unique vintage by highlighting the terroir and focusing on quality, rather than relying on interventions like adding chemicals. Being a small estate allows us to control every phase of production. We work each plot differently and vinify (which is when the grapes are fermented and transformed into wine) them separately. Thanks to my son, Matteo, joining me, we can double the controls, and each step—from racking to finishing to tasting—is done by us. In this way, the wine is perfectly checked, assuring that its quality will be preserved until the wine is bottled and arrives at your table and on your palate.

Tenuto del Ugolino Verdicchio

When you think back to your earliest or fondest memories of good wine, what comes to mind?

My fondest memories are linked to the first time I drank French and Italian wines, and I was dreaming about having my labels on the table together with those great wines. I think we’re on the right path, even if there’s still a long way to go. We have to put in more effort every single day.

Experience Italian Verdecchio

“More than a beverage, wine accompanies the daily activities—lunch, dinner, aperitif. Wine is part of our culture,” Petrini says. Embrace the good life by welcoming one of these bottles to the table.

Tenuta dell'Ugolino Verdicchio Classico 2017

With citrus, melon, and grassy notes, our sommelier recommends this refreshing white as a more complex alternative to Pinot Grigio. Pair it with salads, light fish dishes, and vegetables.

Tenuta dell'Ugolino Verdicchio Superiore 2017

Harvested two weeks later than the Classico, this bottle of verdicchio has a ripe melon flavor, a hint of sea spray, and a long finish, making each sip perfectly crisp.

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This article is related to: Best Wine, Natural Wine, Italian Wine, Clean Wine

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