Le Marche's Le Terrazze: Bob Dylan, Chaos & Some Great Italian Wines

Le Marche (pronounced lay Mar-kay) is a region in central Italy that borders the Adriatic Sea to the east and the Apennines to the west.  Le Marche borders Emilia-Romagna to the north, Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio to the west, and Abruzzi to the south.  The terrain is mostly hills and mountains once you get away from the coast.  The area has a long history matching most of the historic conquests of Italy: it was occupied by the Gaul’s, colonized by the Romans, later it was invaded by the Goths and Lombard’s, then by Charlemagne.  It was then mostly a papal state before finally being annexed in the mid-1800’s by the kingdom of Italy. 

As in its culture, the wines of the Marche have been influenced by its neighbors and subjugators.  Although Le Marche makes equal amounts of red and white wine, it is the white wines made from the Verdicchio grape that have long been famous from this region.  More recently, the reds from Sangiovese and/or Montepulciano grapes have garnered attention.  There is a new group of wines, however, that is winning critical acclaim.  For lack of a better term, these can be called Super Marche wines (a takeoff on the term Super Tuscan).  Most of these are released with an IGT designation and simply labeled as Rosso (Red) wines.  There are some excellent wines being made with great looking labels and cool names.  Normally, I am not a fan of modern wines with cool labels, but when the wine inside is even better, it bears paying attention.

Some of my favorite “Super” Marche wines come from Fattoria Le Terrazze.  The winery is not new however.  It was established by the Terni family in 1882 on 150 hectares of land near the small fishing village of Numana where the climate is conducive to making great wines.  The vineyards are close enough to the sea to get cool breezes, and protected from harsher climates by Mount Conero, a promontory overlooking the Adriatic Sea.  The winery is managed by Antonio Terni.  Although he is the grandson of the founder of the winery, he is an Argentinean born Jew.  Prior to taking over the family winery, Antonio worked as a nuclear engineer.  With the help of Attilio Pagli, consulting enologist, Antonio has modernized the winery and its offerings.  He also has added international varietals such as Chardonnay, Merlot and Syrah. 

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For more than 25 years, The California Wine Club founders Bruce and Pam Boring have explored all corners of California’s wine country to find award-winning, handcrafted wine to share with the world. Each month, the club features a different small family winery and hand selects two of their best wines for members.