Sommelier Jill Mott: La Distesa

Pondering Italy’s prime viticultural real estate, it’s fairly easy to name off popular regional suspects that, for good producers, comes with a price tag to match: Piedmont, Tuscany, Sicily and so on. When people make mention of the Marche located on the calf of Italy’s boot, the attention is firmly placed on beaches, the composer Rossini and luxury Italian leather shoes. Not vines. Hence, why the wines below from a little known producer are so special. They’re obscure and deliver some of the best that Verdicchio (and field blends) have to offer.

The La Distesa project is not unlike others, including my own. An individual works in a large city and corporate world. Said person yearns for more purpose in life and encounters this in vines and agriculture. Corrado Dottori lived in Milan working in finance and left it all to settle in the Marche and tend to grapes organically/biodynamically. His focus is on the local Verdicchio, which is known for being innocuous but honestly, a bit banal. In Corrado’s hands however, look out! His inkling towards Verdicchio and field blends adds perspective and historical depth and this vision is captured in each bottle below whether it be singling out a special vineyard or bottling a strange-ish crushable rosé/red… You’ll taste the wines and immediately book your next trip to the Italy’s coastal calf. Here’s to fine leather shoes, beaches and Corrado Dottori!

Terre Silvate 2018

This wine is a fun kind of wound up upon opening. Moments later, many aromas of nut butters arrive; expensive ones too… Hazelnut butter, cashew butter, macadamia nut butter! Genuinely. The palate is a 4D version of the nose where one never knew Verdicchio could be this vivid with the help of a usual cast of field blend characters, Trebbiano + Malvasia. The nuts make way for loads of mineral on the palate and a light, chalky texture accentuates ripe gravenstein apples. Medium weight and structure are perfectly poised for a meal featuring tagliatelle and seafood or oven-baked pizza with artichokes plus a brisk dusting of pecorino. Fermenting and aging in stainless steel and concrete retains much freshness.

Gli Eremi 2017

If a kiss of oak suits your fancy à la fine 1er Cru Chablis, taste this Verdicchio suited up to compete. With a little decanting, wet mineral and clay come to the fore presenting a candid version of refinement from Italy’s central coastal region – an unexpected gem in the rough. The wine takes a little time to get to know which is refreshing in a day and age where wines are bursting with fruit, fruit and more fruit. Explosive amounts are happening in one sip creating a great foil for a simply roasted quail with spinach and blue potatoes with a tarragon/lemon cream sauce. As the wine opens up, the tendency towards light oak blossoms into a rocky wonderland that screams for another glass.

Meticcio 2018

Dark rosé? Light red? In this instance, we’re merely speaking about color as this wine is leaded with intense flavor and a medium weight. Meticcio is my first Marche glou glou, ready to accompany – place your favorite meal here  – and also performs a lovely function of thirst quenching. While listening to a sassy Chaka Khan tune (which is all too fitting for this wine), I’m voting for a light red as the structure is more defined with a keener depth in the mid-palate and finish coming from this co-fermented blend of Montepulciano, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Trebbiano and Verdicchio. I love the hibiscus tea, red currant and sloe berry notes that permeate both nose and palate; fruit/floral notes leaning towards the tannic, offering a more red perspective on the experience. Welcome, Marche to the land of glou glou!

 

 

Originally aired on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020 on the Morning Show with Patty Peterson.