Home Winners > Winners 2014 > ITALY: Central Whites, including Verdicchio

Winner Details

Italy: Central Whites, including Verdicchio

2014 Gold: 2; Silver: 6; Bronze: 4; Commended: 7
2013 Gold: 3; Silver: 5; Bronze: 0; Commended: N/A
Must-list status: 25%
Overall SWA performance 2014: C

Now this was a turn-up for the books. With Italian whites our tasters are usually reaching for words like ‘understated’, ‘structured’, or ‘food-friendly’ – euphemisms for ‘lack of fruit’. But this year some of the flights of Central Italian whites seemed to be borrowing their vocabulary from a New World dictionary.

‘It was quite interesting,’ said team leader Richard Bampfield MW. ‘There were a lot of characterful wines, but they also divided us more than other flights. Some of the wines were almost too flavoursome, which really surprised me because I didn’t expect that with Italian whites.’

The result? Only one Gold and food matching a long way from the traditional. ‘I would be going more for Asian food here. I think people are being a bit more adventurous with wines like this,’ said Katherine Balanovsky of Michael Caines at Abode Manchester.

The Verdicchios were hugely popular last year, and while they didn’t attract quite such stellar reviews in 2014, it was still a solid performance, with a lot of good food wines in a fairly full-bodied style, and plenty of that oily texture and nutty, savoury finish.

They were not necessarily wines that everybody fell in love with – and some tasters didn’t get them at all – but there was an undeniable use for them, and the quality of the winemaking was generally pretty solid. What would, perhaps, have lifted them up to the next level, was a few lighter sort of wines – the perfumed, aperitif-style offerings that were largely conspicuous by their absence here.

‘They were an interesting flight,’ said consultant sommelier Nicolas Clerc MS. ‘Not wines I come across that often, but on the strength of this I will consider working more with them… They reminded me a little of the quality and food compatibility you find in the Rhône Valley.’


Both of this year’s Gold-Listed wines picked up Gold last year as well, the Moncaro for the 2010 vintage, and the Castello della Sala for the 2011.

FOOTNOTE: Includes wines from Emilia-Romagna, Umbria, Marche, Lazio, Molise, Tuscany & Abruzzo.

From the Tasting Teams

‘These are now wines which are more appealing for people outside Italy than for Italians.’ Sandro Lyhs, Oxo Tower Bar

‘Minerality, good acidity and subtle, integrated oak were the hallmarks of this flight, along with good texture and some richness to the wines. I think many would work well with various Chinese dishes.’ Nicolas Clerc MS, consultant sommelier

‘The Verdicchios were very much food wines. That savoury character would make them good with things like roast chicken.’
Amelia Thornhill, The Plough Inn