Neil Duarte's Vino e Cucina d'Italia

Umani Ronchi – The Standard in Le Marche

Last year while in the region of Le Marche, we visited Azienda Vinicola Umani Ronchi ( The winery's 2009 Vecchie Vigne Casal di Serra Classico Superiore had just been awarded the title of best white wine of the year in Italy by the guide book Gambero Rosso. After the tasting I agreed with that award and rated rather highly the other offerings of Umani Ronchi.

One year later we again visited this winery to see if the following year's vintage was as good. Guided in our tasting by Signorina Francesca Giglio and Export Manager Giorgio Pasanisi we returned to Umani Ronchi's architectural masterpiece aging cellar.

We began with a 2012 Babylon, a pale yellow blend of equal amounts of Passerina, Sauvignon Blanc and Verdicchio. Vinified in stainless steel this wine had a medium smooth finish pleasant to the taste. Sold only in Italy, I rated this wine an 85.

Our second wine was a 2012 Vellodoro, a 100 percent Pecorino that was matured for about four months in stainless steel tanks. Pale yellow in color, this 12.5 percent alcohol wine had a very light nose and a smooth, pleasant taste. In the two years I have sampled Pecorinos, I have grown to really appreciate this grape. I rated this wine an 89.

Third on our list was the 2010 Vecchie Vigne Casal di Serra Classico Superiore DOC. This 13.5 percent alcohol /100 percent Verdicchio aged in stainless steel followed by additional bottle aging was pale yellow in color, light in its nose and finished very long and smooth. As good as this wine was, I felt that last year's vintage (2009) was slightly better. Thus, I rated this wine a 92, still an excellent rating.

Our next white was a 2008 Plenio Castelli di Jesi Verdiccio Reserva DOC Classico. This was definitely the white star of the tasting. Aged 30 percent in large oak casks and 70 percent in cement tanks for eighteen months followed by six months in the bottle, this wine was pale yellow in color with a more pronounced nose and a fantastic long and smooth finish. I rated this wine (which Umani Ronchi believes will last 20 years) a strong 93.

Our final white wine was a 2009 Le Busche, a blend of equal amounts of Verdicchio and Chardonnay. The must of this wine is fermented in oak barriques followed by eight months in its own yeasts and a further ten months in the bottle. The wine was yellow in color with a light nose and a smooth finish. I rated this blend an 87.

Wines of Umani Ronchi
Umani Ronchi wines. Photo: Terry Duarte.

Moving on to the reds, we tried a 2008 Cumaro Conero Riserva DOCG, a 100 percent Montepulciano from the Conero reserve. Aged in oak barriques for about twelve months followed by a further eight months in the bottle, this wine had the normal deep purple Montepulciano color, strong nose and a very pleasant long and smooth finish. Another long storage wine, I again rated this wine a 92.

Our second red was a 2007 Costamorro Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Colline Teramane DOCG. This 100 percent Montepulciano was aged in oak barriques for twelve to fourteen months followed by an additional ten months in the bottle. This deep purple wine had a lighter nose and a long, pleasant finish. Though very good, I felt the Cumaro was the better Montepulciano and I rated this wine a 90.

The final red was a 2008 Pelago Marche Rosso IGT blend of 45 percent Montepulciano and 45 percentCabernet Sauvignon with 10 percent of Merlot added. Aged for fourteen months in oak barriques followed by one year in the bottle, this excellent blend was purple in color, had a lighter but very nice nose and finished long and slightly lighter. I really liked this wine and gave it a 92 rating.

After two truly enjoyable visits over the past two years, I am convinced that Umani Ronchi represents the standard for wineries in the Le Marche region. Our thanks go to Signorina Giglio and Senor Pasanisi for their hospitality during our visit.

July, 2013

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