Pete Stewart recommends
One of my favourite discoveries this year has been the wines of Umani Ronchi. Based in Marche and Abruzzo in Italy, Umani Ronchi produce top quality wines from Verdicchio, Pecorino and Montepulciano as well as other indigenous varieties. They also grow small amounts of the more internationally familiar grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which they blend to great effect with their Montepulciano and Sangiovese.
They have just over 200 hectares, and make about twenty different wines, so production is small. This allows them to focus on quality and to farm organically. The conversion to organic practices started in 2001 and was completed in 2015, so it was no small undertaking.
Umani Ronchi originally started back in the 1950’s and have gone from strength to strength ever since, winning numerous awards along the way. Notably with their Verdicchio Vecchie Vigne 2009 which won Gambero Rosso’s White Wine of the Year award in 2012. Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Vecchie Vigne 2013 Umani Ronchi
(Inverarity One to One, £23.99). This wine is only produced in the best
years, and they only make about 13,000 bottles each time. There’s no oak ageing, just stainless steel and concrete tanks and the palate is both luscious and elegant. This is ideal with scallops or monkfish, but also works well as an aperitif to lubricate the chef. Pelago Marche Rosso IGT 2013
Umani Ronchi (Inverarity One to One, £35.99). The Pelago is a blend of Montepulciano and Cabernet Sauvignon with a touch of Merlot. It’s aged in small barrels for 14 months, and is then kept in bottles for at least a year before release. The Cabernet provides a Bordeaux style backbone to a classic Italian wine which you should enjoy with steak or a homemade lasagne. Cumaro Conero Riserva DOCG 2013 Umani Ronchi (Inverarity One to One, £26.99). This varietal Montepulciano is my favourite in the range. It’s incredibly complex but manages to retain a nice approachability. It’s a glugger! I would have this with duck or venison. And if there’s any left, it will work with the cheeseboard. Enjoy!