Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Belisario “Cambrugiano” Verdicchio di Matelica Riserva DOC (2008)

Belisario is a co-operative winery based in Marche (on Central Italy’s eastern coast) that (more than any other in that part of the world) began to re-combine the tiny parcels of land that had been split up under Italy’s share cropping system. Set up in 1971, the Belisario winery today owns or has access to around 300 hectares of vineyards and produces a range of more than 20 different wines as a result.

The advantages of size, relative financial security and a wide variety of vineyard sites allows the team at Belisario to produce wines across a range of quality levels and price points, with the result that the very best grapes harvested by the Belisario growers each year can be vinified separately and made into genuinely fine wines. (Something which does not happen at all co-operatives!)

This “Cambrugiano” Verdicchio di Matelica Riserva is the result of this ability to keep the very best grapes separate and thus it is the Belisario winery’s “flagship” wine.

Having undergone a slow fermentation, this 2008 “Cambrugiano” Verdicchio was then matured for twelve months in a mix of stainless steel tanks and oak barrels. After bottling, further maturation was undertaken at the Belisario cellars. Despite now being five years old, this 2008 “Cambrugiano” is the current vintage of this Verdicchio on release in the UK.

A pale gold colour in the glass, this “Cambrugiano” Verdicchio is a significantly richer colour than most Verdicchio that UK buyers will be familiar with. A combination of partial oak maturation and time in bottle has visibly altered the appearance of this wine. Another result of this is that the moderate alcoholic legs (that denote the 13% abv alcoholic content of this wine) are clearly visible as the wine in swirled.

Unleashed as this Belisario Verdicchio Riserva rotates in the glass, the aromas of this “Cambrugiano” are both distinctive and expressive. Notes of ripe nectarine, honey and vanilla are all detectable, along with the merest suggestion of cinnamon.

Medium bodied, rounded and oozing ripe stone fruit flavours on the palate, this “Cambrugiano” Verdicchio is subtle and very persistent. Base flavours of nectarine and white peach segue into nuances of honey, kernel and even a little candied ginger. A clear water-over-stone minerality also emerges from the mid-palate and combines with a good level of retained acidity to drive this wine and to prevent the long finish from becoming cloying.  Comparisons with wines of international renown such as Condrieu would not be that wide of the mark, but this is Marche and Verdicchio approaching their best.

Either drink this now, or over the next five years.

Belisario “Cambrugiano” Verdicchio di Matelica Riserva DOC (2008)

Score: 92/100 – This “Cambrugiano” Verdicchio delivers a sense of subtlety, length and utter accomplishment that few Verdicchio come close to matching.

Value for Money: 7/10Priced at around £16 in the UK, this Belisario “Cambrugiano” may be more expensive than a lot of Verdicchio that can be found in the UK, yet looks fairly priced given its quality.