Rare Grapes: Verdeca

Italy is full of relatively rare grape varieties. Not too long ago I tried a varietal Verdeca, a grape variety which I was completely unfamiliar with. The wine, 2013 Feudi di San Marzano Veredeca Sud Puglia IGT, was brought to me from Apulia by a friend. In fact, Apulia is nowadays one of the few regions in which Verdeca is grown. If you are in the Wine Century Club and Verdeca is not already on your to-drink list then make sure to add it. 

Verdeca

For decades, Verdeca, an autochthonous grape variety primarily planted in in Southern Italy and especially in Apulia, was used to produce Vermouth but the decreasing global interest in Vermouth has consequently led to less Verdeca plantings. However, near the town of Gravina in Puglia Verdeca is still grown in small quantities and nowadays the grapes are more and more used for wine production. Verdeca makes fine varietal wines but further north in Campania the grape can also be found in blend wines like the Lacryma Christi DOC. In Campania the majority of Verdeca plantings are found on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius. In Central Italy, Verdeca is cultivated in small quantities, too, especially in Emilia-Romagna’s Colli Piacentini region.

There is still some speculation on whether the grape is actually native to Apulia or if it originated further east in Croatia. Primitivo, Apulia’s signature grape variety, also has its roots in Croatia. Other sources like  suggest that the Greek brought Verdeca to Southern Italy and that it is identical to the Greek variety Lagorthi.

Varietal wines produced from Verdeca tends to have no more than 12.5% alcohol by volume, a pale golden-greenish color and a nose with herbal and exotic fruit aromas. In Apulia, Verdeca is traditionally paired with seafood, especially with clams.

It should not be confused with the Spanish Verdejo nor with Verdea which is mostly grown in Tuscany. Confusingly, the white Verdicchio grape variety sometimes also goes by the name Verdeca. However, the two are not related. The grape also goes by the name Verdoiche which is used by the inhabitants of the province of Bari who sometimes use that spelling on their labels.

2013 Feudi di San Marzano Verdeca Sud Puglia IGT

2013 Feudi di San Marzano - Verdeca Sud - Puglia IGTThere is very little information on the winery available on the Internet and so I am afraid that I can’t tell you much besides that they are located in San Marzano, a small village in Apulia that has an international reputation for its tomatoes. This is quite odd because apparently the winery has a web presence but at least on my devices the website has no content. The wine also has a QR code but my iPhone’s QR code reader says it is invalid. Anyways, Verdeca Sud is produced with 100% Veredeca grapes that are planted 100 meters above sea level. After an early harvest fermentation takes place in stainless steel vats. The wine ages for about three months in French oak.

12% is the label indicated ABV and the wine’s appellation is Puglia IGT.

In the glass, Verdeca Sud has an intense green-golden color. Lovely aromatic nose with some passion fruit, olives, lime and hints of honey. On the palate, dry and fresh with a nice sapidity. Well-structured and “easy to drink”. The finish is somewhere between medium and long.

3.5 / 5 stars      

Verdeca Sud is a delicious white wine with a great quality price ratio because, according to Wine Searcher, it retails for just about €8.

I’m curious: Have you tried any Verdeca varietals before?  Let me know in the comment section below. Cheers!

 

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8 comments on “Rare Grapes: Verdeca”

  1. talkavino Reply

    I had Verdeca before – Leone de Castris Verdeca Bianco Messapia IGT 2009 – no detailed memories though. I like it how all the “forgotten grapes” came back to existence – this is great!

    • Julian Rossello Reply

      I like that, too! It’s the beauty of wine. There are so many grape varieties out there and more and more of them are being replanted.
      Will see if I can find a little of Leone de Castris Verdeca. Haven’t had that one before. Cheers!

  2. Sean P. Reply

    I’m always open to new stuff. Thanks for sharing this. Verdeca sounds intriguing.

    • Julian Rossello Reply

      Thanks for commenting, Sean. Verdeca was an interesting discovery for me. Would love to hear how you like Verdeca varietals if you decide to try any.

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