Rosso Piceno / Piceno DOC: This is an appellation for only red wines in the region of Marche. Red Grapes are Montepulciano, Sangiovese. Rosso (Rd): 35–85% Montepulciano; 15–50% Sangiovese; maximum 15% OANRG; Sangiovese (Rd): Minimum 85% Sangiovese + OANRG; Novello (Rosso); Superiore (Rosso); Superiore can be produced only in a portion of the denomination. The Minimum alcohol level is 11.0% for Novello; 11.5% for Rosso and Sangiovese; 12.0% for Superiore
Rosso Piceno wine
Quality Level in EU/Italian Wine Law: DOC Rosso Piceno
Primary Grape Varietals: Montepulciano in blends. The red wine can contain 35-85% Montepulciano and from 15% to 50% Sangiovese with other approved grapes thrown in. An additional 15% of other red grapes can be added to the blends. While Sangiovese plays an important part by providing acidity and tannin to the final wines, the DOC focuses on Montepulciano as the primary ingredient. Varietal Sangiovese wines are labeled as Rosso Piceno Sangiovese and are allowed under the DOC regulations.
Characteristics: The wines are rich with ripe plum and red cherry aromas and flavors, complimented with herbal undertones. A note of shoe polish is an indicator of these wines in a blind tasting. While these wines have big body and bold flavors, they are not known to age well and should be drunk young. Be sure to buy a recent vintage.
Pair with: The wines are produced for drinking with local food. In the US they pair well with pizza and hamburgers.
Italians say that the Region of La Marche is like finding all of Italy in one region. It has beaches, mountains, history, food and wine – all that anyone could want to find.
La Marche is also the bridge between the regions where Montepulciano and Sangiovese varietals dominate in Italy and is a land that produces both. La Marche is the where the two great red grapes of Italy come together on the Adriatic Coast and meet in the middle of the Peninsula. The Rosso Piceno or just Piceno DOC region is where these two grapes are used to produce red wines of quality and distinction.
The most important thing to remember about this wine is that the Montepulciano is a grape varietal that is the 4th most planted red grape in Italy but should not be confused with the Sangiovese-based wine of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano which is named after a town in Tuscany. Montepulciano – the grape – is grown all over Italy but the most impactful use of the varietal is as the leading contributor to Rosso Piceno wines.
Rosso Piceno was established as a DOC in 1968 (the first DOC of Marche) and produces reds that combine the two grapes in various combinations. The DOC is second largest in Marche with respect to land under vine and wine production levels. The DOC covers a very large area with wide variation in soil, altitude, aspect and climate.
Montepulciano adds significant body and richness to the wines.
Superiore wines are more rare and are produced in only 13 of the most southern towns that are stated to be perfect for grapevine cultivation. The DOC regulations require a year of age to gain the Superiore on the label. The Superiore subzone is an official area within the DOC and is known to produce the highest quality wines. The superiore listed on the bottle indicates the grapes were cultivated in the subzone and vinified with higher quality standards. Lower yields, higher potential alcohol and the aging requirement are examples. Superiore wines typically see some oak in the maturation process.
Historically, Marche lagged behind Tuscany and Umbria in terms of reputation but the Rosso Piceno wines have improved and now stand up to the wines of those regions. Marche enjoys a temperate climate and hillside vineyards that fit well with both varietals. The area is rather large and covers the provinces of Macerata, Fermo, Ascoli Piceno and Ancona.
Montepulciano is a robust grape in the vineyard even though it can be susceptible to disease and uneven ripeness. It is a late ripening grape and the seeds, in particular can remain un ripe and bitter until full ripeness is achieved. Pergola trellising is often used for high yields as the grape does not suffer much from the increased production levels. The wine is high in anthocyanins and therefore is very dark in color. It is very deep ruby and can have significant purple tones.
The combination of clayish soils, perfect weather conditions, low rain levels and hillside locations, a Piceno Rosso wine is worth finding. They are on the lower end of price and can easily be found for around $15. They typically are well balanced with fruit concentration and medium + acid – making it a good combination for Italian pastas, pizza or American food.
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In the meantime, if you are in the mood for a good book, you can try:
– The Modern History of Italian Wine by Walter Filipputti
– Hidden Gems of Italy: An Insider’s Secret Formula To Find Top-Class Italian Wines At Value Prices And Taste La Dolce Vita by Tony Margiotta
Additionally, you can discover the other wines from Marche.