Italy’s Marche region plays host to a number of wonderful Italian white wines. However, it’s also one of those regions that likely doesn’t receive the level of respect that it deserves.
Located in Central Italy, the region has slowly been building its reputation in the face of fierce competition from Italy’s other major regions. And in the Belisario Verdicchio di Matelica Cambrugiano Riserva 2017, we have a wine that’s perfectly representative of what Marche has to offer.
But we’ll get to that!
First, we’re going to take a look at the company behind the wine.
Belisario has an interesting story.
And they’ve managed to produce a wine that’s something of a darling of the wine review circuit.
For some reason, many see wines produced by cooperatives as a negative thing. Perhaps it’s because they’re tied into a romantic notion that the best wines come from companies that have done it all themselves, with the family behind the company being responsible for its success. Others may believe that the sharing nature of a cooperative means that the wines the company produces aren’t as representative of the land as they could be.
Either way, there is sometimes a negative stigma attached to cooperatives.
But there shouldn’t be!
And in the case of Belisario, that stigma gets blown right out of the water.
Founded in 1971, the Belisario group started life as a very small collective of winemakers who simply wanted to make wines that would put the Marshe region on the map. In the 50 years since its founding, the company has expanded considerably, welcoming a huge number of producers, vintners, and wine experts into its fold.
Cantine Belisario now owns over 300 hectares of vineyards in the Matelica DOC of the Marche region. Within those 300 acres, you will find 24 vast vineyards, each of which is tended to produce only the finest grapes. Thanks to the cooperative’s focus on expansion, it has become the largest producer of Verdicchio wines in Matelica DOC.
But don’t for a moment assume this means that the company focuses solely on quantity.
It has managed to achieve such impressive growth because the minds behind the wine are so sharp. Quality is the name of the game with Belisario, as you will find out when we conduct our deeper review.
But let’s get back to the story.
One of the things that set Belisario apart is its ability to identify trends in the wine industry.
Take the trend towards biodynamic wines that we see today. The cooperative has noted that there is a rising contingent of people who want wines made with no chemical interference. It has also recognised that current winemaking methods may be destructive to the environment. As a result, 24 hectares of its vineyards are dedicated to using biodynamic agricultural practices.
Belisario is also one of the earliest adopters of these practices.
It received its ISO 9001 certification for crafting biodynamic wines back in 2002 and has been slowly expanding the reach of its biodynamic vineyards since. Of course, the company is not yet 100% biodynamic. But it is also a transparent company, which is why it uses its wine labels to make clear which of its wines are biodynamic and which aren’t.
Another thing that sets the cooperative apart is its dedication to the safe production of its wines. Even before the says of COVID, Belisario committed to packaging and bottling its wines in a thermo-controlled room, with the entire environment being sterilised to ensure there is no chance of the wines being contaminated with anything. Interestingly, the company is also keen to lend credit to each of the vineyards it owns. If you examine its wine labels, you will see each tells you exactly which vineyard the particular wine came from, which makes this a collective in operation while still allowing you to see which winemaker deserves the individual credit for the company’s products.
So, we can see that Belisario is a cooperative with a difference.
Its dedication to exploring new winemaking techniques, coupled with the fact that it always has a focus on quality, means that its wines will almost always blow you away.
And that’s certainly the case with the wine we’re going to examine in this review.
We’re going to start this review a little differently than normal.
Instead of saving the reviews for the end, we’re going to share them right now.
You’ll see why in a moment…
From Bibenda, the wine receives a rating of five bunches of grapes out of five.
The famous Gambero Rosso granted the wine its coveted 3 Bicchieri rating, which has been achieved by only 305 of the 18,000 wines the company has reviewed.
Veronelli gave the wine three stars out of three, highlighting it as one of the best wines of the last three years.
The team at Xtrawine gave the wine a 95/100 rating.
So, it’s fair to say that the Belisario Verdicchio di Matelica Cambrugiano Riserva 2017 is something very special!
A gorgeous Italian white wine, it has the capacity to wow you from the moment you pour it. The little tinges of emerald glisten as the wine sits in the glass, with those tinges becoming more pronounced when you give the glass a swirl.
The bouquet is truly stunning too.
Take a moment to introduce the wine to your nose and you’ll be struck by fragrances of medlar, ripe peach, and fresh almond. The wine also offers some floral and herbal notes, which allows the strength of the terroir to stand out. And those who explore a little further will find some little spicy hints that make the wine even more of an enjoyable experience.
Its dense texture is the first thing you’ll notice upon taking your first sip. However, that texture is balanced by the glycerine notes, which act as a bit of a softener. The intense savory push makes the wine a joy to drink, as does the long mineral persistence.
And here is the best part.
This stunning Italian wine is currently available for less than €13 in the Xtrawine store.
What are you waiting for?