It has a long name and a funny bottle that looks more like a flower vase than a wine bottle, but Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi has been a highly regarded wine for nearly two thousand years. When Alaric the Visigoth passed through what is now the Marches region of Italy in 410 A.D. on his way to besiege and sack Rome, he ordered that 40 mules be packed with barrels of Verdicchio to sustain the strength (and presumably increase the pleasure) of his troops. The wine at that time was consumed at rites honoring Cupra, goddess of wealth and opulence. Right now, you can buy a very fine example of Verdicchio Classico (from the oldest and most reputable area of the appellation) with neither wealth nor opulence. As part of a continuing program to unload surplus wines, Harding's Markets in Kalamazoo, MI is selling this wine right for only $3.99/bottle. (For wines previously closed out at deep discounts, check my notes on Agricole Vallone Salice Salentino and Hamilton Ewell Vineyards Railway Shiraz.)
This Fazi Battaglia Verdicchio is now four years old (probably the reason it is being unloaded), but the wine has plenty of freshness--a bright medium straw color and brisk scents of Granny Smith apples, nearly ripe pears and hazelnuts. Donna noted petroleum aromas reminiscent of German Riesling. And even though she's usually not a fan of those smells, she found them very positive in this wine. The freshness carries over to the palate--excellent acidity to match up with a pasta sauce featuring spinach, bacon, lemon and garlic. And, like the Gaetano d'Aquino Pinot Grigio, this wine has a pleasant touch of bitterness on a very powerful finish.
The funny-shaped bottle was created for Fazi Battaglia in 1953 by the architect Angonio Maiocchi. Presumably inspired by ancient Etruscan amphora, this emerald-green bottle has become the icon for Verdicchio. If you haven't tried this ancient wine before, you can do so at minimal cost in Kalamazoo...or you can buy the current vintage elsewhere for about $12/bottle.