Province of Ancona
Owners: Bernetti family
Winemakers: Giacomo Mattioli & Beppe Caviola
Production: 3,300,000 bottles
Hectares under vine: 230
The Bernetti family of Umani Ronchi hold over 200 hectares of prime vineyards, 110 in Verdicchio Classico, 60 in Rosso Conero and 30 in the prestigious ‘Colline Teramane’ in Abruzzo, the region’s first DOCG appellation. Piedmontese oenologist Beppe Caviola heads a three-strong oenological team that is taking Umani Ronchi into the future, having received a healthy legacy from retired consultant Giacomo Tachis.
The Verdicchio grape was established here in the 14th century, and in the hills surrounding Jesi, enjoys long hours of sunshine, cool nights and sea breezes from the Adriatic. The three Verdicchios represent three interpretations of this versatile variety, much underrated and undervalued in our opinion. Villa Bianchi, named for the farmhouse on the property (and a great place to stay) is racy and refreshing. Casal di Serra, the flagship Verdicchio first made in 1983, spends some time on lees to develop richness and texture.
Casal di Serra Vecchie Vigne is from the oldest vines from the Montecarotto vineyard, first planted in the 1970s. The harvest here is quite late, usually around mid-October, and a slight over ripening of the grapes is encouraged. The wine is fermented on its natural yeasts with partial skin contact and aged in concrete and stainless only. It is complex with notes of camomile, apricot, sage and hazelnut, the rich and full bodied palate balanced with Verdicchio’s typical freshness. In 2012 Gambero Rosso awarded 2009 Casal di Serra Vecchie Vigne with another Tre Bicchieri and 2012 Italian White Wine of the Year!
Finally, Maximo is a botrytised Sauvignon with figs, ripe apple, candied citrus and dried flowers on the nose followed by an unctuously rich palate.
The Montepulciano variety originated in Abruzzo and is known for its full fruit flavours and soft tannins. In the Marches, Montepulciano forms the basis of the region’s most important red, Rosso Conero. It was Umani Ronchi that really put Rosso Conero on the map in 1988, when their 1985 Cumaro won the top red wine award at London’s International Wine Challenge from a field of entries that, at the time, was billed as the world’s largest comparative tasting.
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is a deep dark purple with ripe, dark berry fruit and a full palate that makes it a versatile food wine. San Lorenzo, from the vineyard of the same name situated above the winery, is aged half in third-use barrique and half in Slavonian casks. Deep ruby red with ripe berry fruit, the full and round palate is a great accompaniment to roasted meats. Cumaro, recently elevated to DOCG Riserva, is a selection of the best grapes from the San Lorenzo vineyard, aged 14 months in barrique. Bright ruby red/purple, the nose is intense and ample with hints of red cherry and violets, the palate velvety and concentrated with a generous mouthfeel and soft tannins.