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Italy - Marche

Although the Marche produces a number of good red wines, most notably Rosso Conero and Rosso Piceno, both from different blends of Sangiovese and Montepulciano grapes, the region's flagship is one white wine, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi. The wine is made from the Verdicchio grape, which gives plenty of crisp, lemony acidity, and a minerally tang.

Its fame might have remained little more than local, had not the company Fazi-Battaglia come up with the marketing masterstroke of putting the wine in a distinctive, curvaceous, amphora-shaped bottle, which was rapidly dubbed "la Lollobrigida." At one time it seemed that the bottle was all the wine had to offer, but then Verdicchio started bouncing back, thanks to estates such as Fratelli Bucci and Zaccagnini in particular, Garofoli, Monte Schiavo and Umani Ronchi. Verdicchio, picked fully ripe, often from special vineyards or crus, can be a wine of buttery richness not unlike the finest Chablis.

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