The name of the region derives from the plural name of marca, originally referring to the medieval March of Ancona.
Like its more famous neighbors Tuscany and Umbria, Le Marche boasts Mediterranean flora like Cyprus trees, olive trees, and vines spread across a hilly landscape, and dotted with medieval villages.
Like those to the west, the calcareous soils have proven excellent for varieties like Sangiovese, Trebbiano, Verdicchio, and Montepulciano. Even with excellent growing conditions, the region has just 20,000 hectares of vineyards spread throughout 11 DOCs in the provinces of Ancona, Ascoli Piceno, Macerata, and Pesaro; and it ranks 12th among Italy’s wine regions. The best red grapes coming from the region are from Sangiovese and Montepulciano, the indigenous black grape varietals that reach their optimum point in the area’s dry maritime climate and limestone-rich soils.
Verdicchio, as the name suggests was named after the green color of its berries. Verdicchio grapes ripen slowly and evenly and always maintain high levels of tartaric acid, meaning that these wines can be crisp and refreshing but are also very age-worthy. Verdicchio wines are very floral and delicately fruity, while older wines have a distinct flintiness. In both the young and aged expressions, Verdicchio often has a sweet almond-marzipan note.
The Montepulciano d’Abruzzo grape is often confused with the Tuscan wine Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which is actually Sangiovese. The Montepulciano grape is one of the most widely planted grapes in Italy, and creates easy drinking wines, that can either be made without oak for soft and approachable wines or with oak, making rich, tannic, powerful, and dark wines.
Lacrima means teardrop in Italian because the berries tend to leak juice down the bunches, resembling tears. Lacrima wines are aromatic and richly flavored, showing an intense floral and spice character on the nose with a fresh, berry-dominant palate.
The Montepulciano grape is not related to the Tuscan wine region of Montepulciano, where Vino Nobile is made, instead, it is a separate noble varietal. The two most prolific appellations, Rosso Piceno and Rosso Conero, use both Sangiovese and Montepulciano for red wine. Most of the wine made in Le Marche is white, with the crisp and fresh Verdicchio varietal being the star. There are different types of Verdicchio- Verdicchio Castelli di Jesi and Verdicchio di Matelica, Castelli di Jesi being more prevalent. The Pecorino grape is gaining popularity in Marche, and many producers are making stellar white wines with this trendy varietal.