Today, Marchè remains relatively unknown to foreign visitors but for the wine lover there are good things to be found here. Known for both red and white wines, we went to find one of these lesser known gems called Bianchello del Metauro. Made from the Bianchello grape, this DOC white wine comes from a small area along the eponymous river. To learn more, we visited a winery called La Crespaia situated up in the hills at about 150 metres above sea level and only 3 kilometres from the Adriatic. Here we met the winery manager, Shayle, who is originally from New Zealand.
This is a small enterprise of 10 hectares with an annual production of around 40,000 bottles per year but its lack of size is more than made up for in the care and knowledge that go into their wines. La Crespaia was started in 2011 by the owner, Rossano Sgammini, but there have been vineyards here for centuries. However, when Rossano took over the majority of the vines were Sangiovese; he had very different ideas and so the vines were replaced with Bianchello and the vineyards have been managed organically ever since.
The second wine was their DOC Bianchello del Metauro Superiore called Chairaluce. After a manual harvest this wine has its fermentation started using wild yeasts in a process called pied de cuve. In this process 10% of the grapes are harvested two days in advance and remain intact, allowing their yeasts to begin the fermentation before being added to the pressed juice from the main harvest. After fermentation the wine remains for nine months on the lees before being bottled. The result is a similar colour to the first wine but is fruitier with light citrus, low acidity, and also a hint of salinity from the nearby sea. This is a wine that would go well with swordfish and baccala or even pork. Shayle thinks this wine should have a life of at least 5 years and is probably at its best around 18 months after the harvest.