Velenosi Marches On

four velenosi wine bottles

One of the lesser-known wine regions of Italy is called Marches, or Le Marche in Italian. Not a super-well-known region outside of Italy to most people, it is nonetheless home to one of my favorite Italian white wines called Verdicchio. To my delight, more and more people are appreciating these sea-influenced, crisp and minerally whites, which are thirst-quenching summer wines. The Marche region makes other wines that are also worth exploring, including reds based on Montepulciano and Sangiovese, the main grapes in the neighboring and better-known regions of Tuscany and Abruzzo.

During the 2020 virtual Wine Media Conference in August, Velenosi, one of Le Marche’s prominent producers, hosted a virtual tasting, providing four of their wines to attendees to try at home. The session was hosted by Lora Donadoni, aka The Italian Wine Girl.

Before we go into Velonosi’s lovely wines, let’s take a closer look at Le Marche, the wine region.

Le Marche: Between the Mountains and the Sea

The Marche region stretches along the Adriatic coast of eastern Italy, and borders Umbria and Tuscany to the west, Emilia Romagna to the north, and Lazio and Abruzzo to the south. While the region touches on so many other regions, it has a distinct quality of its own based on its proximity to the sea and the mountains, as well as its soils and topography. The region features 15 DOCs and three DOCGs. The largest and most productive DOC is that of Verdicchio de Castelli di Jesi.

Italian wine map highlighting le Marche

Marche’s location in Italy (see map) is part of the reason it has not became as well known as regions like Tuscany and Venezio, as it is off the main transport spine going up and down Italy. While the north has Venice and the south has Rome, there are no world-renowned cities in Le Marche.

It’s even hard to gather an abundance of information on Mache as a wine region — several of my trusted sources do not even have entries for this region. For example, The Wine Bible skips right over Marche, listing only Verdicchio Bianco as “simple clean white wines in the region known as Marche.” Similarly, World Atlas of Wine has no entry for Marche, just a small sub-section in the “Central Italy” chapter that mentioned Verdicchio and the “reds of Marche [based on the Montepulciano and Sangivoese grapes that] have been slower to carve out their identity.”

Marche offers wine and so much more. While I have never personally been there, the presentation provided by Velenosi plus Internet research on Marche have whetted my appetite for a post-pandemic visit!

Marche has miles of pristine beaches with world-class resorts and seafood restaurants, historic medieval towns, Romanesque churches, natural preserves and festivities such as the Quintana Palio Joust (a medieval horse racing event). The joust takes place in the beautiful town of Ascoli Piceno, which is 12 miles inland from the Adriatic and in the southern portion of Marche, close to Abruzzo.

Ascoli Piceno, Home of Velenosi

Ascoli Piceno is the home base of Velenosi, a “self-made winery,” per the winery’s literature, started in 1984 by Ercole and Angela Velenosi, with little capital or know-how. While they may not be one of the old families of the Italian wine world, today they produce 2.5 million bottles on about 360 acres of vines in Marche, plus an additional 40 acres in Abruzzo.

Velenosi’s Ascoli Piceno vines are located on the fertile clay soils in the hills surrounding the Tronto river valley, where the Mediterranean climate provides warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters.

Velenosi produces a large variety of bottlings, ranging from sparklings to whites, roses, reds and even dessert/sweet wines, as well as Bag in Box wines and olive oils.

The sparklings are made from Chardonnay, Pinot Nero and the lesser-known Passerina, in Charmat and Traditional method. Still whites include Verdicchio, Pecorino, Chardonnay, Pecorino-Trebbiano blends known as Falerio Bianco, and Passerina. The Rose, or Rosata, is produced from the Montepulciano grape. Reds include Lacrima di Morro d’Alba, a specialty of the Marche, and the Rosso Piceno blends of Montepulciano and Sangiovese. Sweet wines are made with Moscato, Lacrima and Sciroppe di Visciole.

The WMC Tasting

Four bottles, one white and three reds, were tasted during WMC, in the following order:
Velenosi Verdicchio bottle

2019 Querciantica Verdicchio Dei Castelli Di Jesi DOC Classico

The wine is 100% Verdicchio, and is grown in the hills of Castelli di Jesi’s oldest areas.

This wine really hit the spot on the warm summer night of the tasting. As one fellow WMC attendee stated, it cut right through the humidity.

Fermented at low temperature, this lovely, feminine white delights the palate with apples, stone fruit, and flowers, and just a slight vegetal note. It was chock full of minerals owing to the clay and limestone soils, with a distinct salinity that, in my mind, tasted of the Adriatic Sea.

Per Donadoni, this wine can age, and pairs well with oysters, crudite, shell fish, and risotto.

The wine retails for $15 to $20.

Querciantica Lacrima Di Morro DOC

Velenosi Lacrima di Morro bottle
This red is 100% Lacrima de Moro d’Alba [note difference in spelling on label vs town’s actual name] which, per Wine Grapes, is a recovered local Marche specialty, brought back from near-extinction in 1985. The grapes in this DOC are grown near the town of Moro d’Alba in the northeastern corner of the Verdicchio di Castelli di Jesi zone of Marche.
Lacrima is also known as “red Gewurtztraminer” owing to its perfumed characteristics. It’s name means “teardrop” in Italian, which is most likely based on the fact that when ripe, the grapes exude a small drop of juice.
And juicy this wine is, with strawberries and other red fruits, soft tannins and low acid, making it a good pairing with BBQ and Asian food. I really enjoyed this quaffable red, and served slightly chilled, the wine is even better, in my opinion. A delicious summer wine.
At under $20, this delightful red should be bought by the case.

Il Brecciarolo Rosso Piceno DOC Superiore

Il Brecciarolo Rosso Piceno DOC Superiore

Il Brecciarolo is 70% Montepulciano and 30% Sangiovese (Rosso Piceno DOC requires a minimum of 35% and maximum of 85%  Montepuliciano and no more than 50% Sangiovese). Unlike the Velenosi’s Lacrima, this blend has an unmistakable oak influence. It also has a rich palate of cherry, cocoa, red flowers, and some spicy notes.

The “superiore” indicates that the grapes are derived from a smaller historic zone with lower yields than non-superiore Rosso Picino wines.
Distributed widely in the US market, this wine has a ripeness and palate that tells me that if you like big California reds, you will love this wine.
And the pricing is right at $15-$18.




Piceno DOC Superiore

Velenosi Rosso Piceno DOC Superiore
This is the big boy of the Velenosi tasting. 
The same blend as the Brecciarolo, this wine is produced from 50-year-old vines, at an altitude of 2100 feet. This wine is even bigger and riper (think ripe plums and cherries) than the former, which is the winemaker’s choice, says Donadoni. 
At 14.5% alcohol, and with distinct oak, this wine is not for the faint of heart. 
Again, if you have a California palate, you will love this wine, and it will hold up to the biggest, heartiest meat dish you can serve.
The wine is priced at around $50.

Resources for Velenosi and Le Marche

Once the world opens up for safe travels again, Le Marche will be a the top of my list of wine regions to visit — for its wines, its cuisine, it’s history, its natural beauty, and its off-the-beaten-path qualities. In the meantime, I will continue my armchair travels, using the following resources:
Learn more about Velenosi at
Check out Italian Wine Girl’s blog at
And for general Le Marche, I found the following sites useful:
Until next time, Ciao!