Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi is a white-wine DOC located in the Marches region of central Italy. In 2010 the riserva form of the wine was singled out for promotion to full DOCG status (Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Riserva).
One of the most famous and historically noteworthy offerings in the Marches region, the dry white wines sold under this title are made from the ancient Verdicchio grape variety. Legend has it that when the troops of the king of the Visigoths, Alarich (370-410), marched on Rome, they were provided with barrels of Verdicchio to maintain their strength.
The Castelli dei Jesi wine-producing zone encompasses the hilly territory around the town of Jesi in the province of Ancona. This area features fortified villages which were built here in medieval times, and which give rise to the Castelli part of the DOC name. The terroir here is ideal for the production of mineral-tinged dry white wines, thanks mostly to its calcareous, clay and limestone-rich soils and a relatively dry maritime climate. The temperate climate here is due to Jesi's proximity to the Adriatic, and to the presence of various local rivers (most notably the Cesano and Esino). The east-west passage of the rivers and their corresponding valleys bless the area with persistent gentle winds, onshore during the morning and offshore in the late afternoon. This constant ventilation helps prevent the onset of fungal diseases such as grey rot and mildew.
Verdiccio from Jesi and its neighbors is markedly softer and more rounded than that produced in Matelica just to the south. Whereas Verdicchio di Matelica usually needs several years of ageing to relax its sharper character, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi is approachable within the early months of its life.
Verdicchio means 'little green one', a name which holds true for the wines it makes in central Marche. These are typically straw colored with pronounced green tinges and have a correspondingly 'green' aroma profile, leaning towards herbaceous notes and fresh apples. This is complemented by crisp acidity and a pleasant, slightly bitter aftertaste redolent of toasted almonds. These characteristics make it an ideal match with regional seafood dishes such as Brodetto di Pesce, a bouillabaisse-like rich seafood stew, or cheeses such as pecorino.
Several forms of Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi are made, including foaming spumante (made using either the Charmat method or methode traditionnelle) and dried-grape passito wines, which may be either sweet or dry. The DOC also has a theoretically superior classico (see Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico) sub-zone and a superiore designation which denotes wines with an extra 0.5% of final alcohol by volume.