Verdicchio is always a wine I buy and enjoy often when it crops up on bar menus. A friend pointed out to me the other day that most of the Verdicchio's we enjoy are from the Castelli di Jesi DOC area. The "other" verdicchio producing DOC is the far smaller and inland 'Matelica' DOC.
So I have been this last week dropping into various wine shops as I have passed them. These have included Lea and Sandeman (Fulham Road branch), Jeroboams (Notting Hill) and Oddbins on the Chiswick High Road close to where I live. None of these fine establishments had wines from Matelica for sale. As a last gasp before settling on something different altogether, I dipped out of the snow this evening into the Good Wine Shop on the Chiswick High Road and asked the smiling chap on the till whether he had verdicchio from Matelica. To my utter surprise he leapt up and instantly retrieved a bottle - even bothering to apologise for only having one producer.
I marched at great speed to the supermarket and bought some fish and have placed it in the frying pan with lemon and garlic. The fish in question is very much the catch of the day and being tagged "the fish of the future", "Tilapia", a farmed fish that grows to full size within six months. If the hype is to believed this the fish that will keep the masses in vitamins and nutrients in the future days of limited fish stocks. Let's see about that. It is sizzling away as I type.
Please give me a few moments whilst we taste the wine and fish and see what the results are… I have been thinking of little else for the latter part of the working day.
The Terre di Valbona is a tasty little number with a fresh, almost lemony nose . The acidity is very pleasant and is perfect for this fish, soaked in garlic and oil. The fish itself is plain tasting except for my additions but has a fleshy white meat texture. Give it a go - I imagine it it is great in curries and similar dishes that have an abundance of spice and flavours.
I want to taste more of these wines. The mineral flavours are quite intense and full of vibrancy. A good food wine. I'd like to have it with monk fish next time.
A quick factoid: Belisario is a co operative producer, the biggest in Matelica. The word Belisario is also a tragic opera based on the famous 6th century General Belasarius, of the Byzantine period. So there you go… a wine with mighty intentions. The only tragedy is the difficulty in acquiring wines from this region!
Watch: Wine Tips from the Grape-Pickers Party
After days of picking grapes in one of the world’s most famous wine regions, the pickers get together to drink, chat and enjoy the drinks they are meticulously involved in the making of.
Also check out local winemaker, Nico’s, top tip for a white Burgundy from Saint Aubin that you don’t have to travel to Burgundy to get!
From Picasso to Pecorino Wine (not cheese!!)
What started in El Quatre Gats tapas bar in Barcelona, soon became an adventure in the Marche region of Italy, that lies along the east coast facing Albania across the Adriatic Sea. El Quatre Gats is famously where Picasso had his first solo exhibition as a young edgy artists in the Catalan capital and I was there dining with Dr Pia Casarini Wadhams, Director of Italy’s only Polar Institute, Il Polo.