About 12 years ago, I vividly remember tasting a non-Friulian Italian white under $20 that was head turning. It was a Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi. I was taken aback as non-Friulian Italian whites didn’t usually excite me. Yes, there were some exceptions, but for the rest, I largely clumped Italian whites together as “high acid and lightly bitter, lemony and nutty.”

Today, that perception couldn’t be further from the truth for most Italian wines, though that was the sad reality at the time. But from that moment of intrigue, my fascination with Verdicchio began – both from Castelli di Jesi, where the two wines come from, and Matellica (the two major appellations in the Marche region.) So, any time I get to taste Verdicchio, I hope to get that jolt of “wow”. These two wines from Garofoli delivered. 

I was fascinated to read that Garofoli’s wine activities were begun in 1871, with a vision to supply pilgrims visiting the local church of Loreto, a shrine of Marian pilgrimage. It reminded me that in the 1860s the Vatican had been forced to sell its property in the area as part of Italy’s reunification. If this is how the high-aiming Garofoli family got its start in the wine trade, then I’ll lift up a word of thanks for that! This family is a hero for quality in the region.

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Garofoli 2017 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Macrina $14
Made of 100% Verdicchio, this Jesi Hills wine is a STUNNER. It is flirtingly perfumed with almond blossom and mineral tones and tastes of perfectly ripe summer peaches on the palate. That’s where you find just a smidgeon of glycerol that gives the wine delightful mid-palate weight to balance the bottling’s bright acidity. This is a super-sippable, über-pure wine with medium body and well balanced everything! This is the perfect “house white” for the summer.
Drink: 2018-19

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Garofoli 2015 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Podium 14% $25
Less carefree and certainly more seriously mineral in style, the Podium is a more wound-up wine now, despite it being two years older than its sibling noted above. As it has the depth of flavor and generously long finish to show that it has the ability to age to benefit and will continue to do so, I can only hope that consumers will trade up to allow the wine to offer its masses of fascinating smells that transform in the glass between wet riverbed rocks and a bountiful array of citrus flavors. After all, $25 for an unoaked Italian wine can sound pricey. Furthermore, it’s a wine in need of air and patience (don’t hesitate decanting), whereas the Macrina is ready for a party! (To clarify, my concerns are exclusively commercial for the Podium. It is a gloriously yummy wine!) I love this wine’s vividly acidic finish and its impressively pure freshness.
Drink: 2018-21