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  • Julia Harding MW
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  • Julia Harding MW
6 Jun 2014

From $7.99, €6.55, £7.25

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This is a terrific wine at a terrific price which kept very well in the fridge overnight, losing very little of its delicate but definite aroma. It has a slight floral note but the main aromas and flavours are citrus and almond and something I'd describe as stony, which is part of the texture - a fine and slight dry firmness which adds both interest and length of flavour. I don't think I have ever used the term 'lip-smacking' to describe a wine but this one qualifies thanks to the crisp lemony taste. Good with or without food.

The Verdicchio grapes come from the hilly area behind Jesi, particularly close to San Paolo di Jesi, a village about 35 km south west of Ancona in Italy's Marche region. Winemaking is straightforward, the fruit gently and slowly pressed and then fermented in stainless steel. My only cavil was the plastic closure, which was very difficult to squeeze back into the bottle, unlike many of the newer breed of synthetic closures.

Pontemagno_bottleThe wine is widely available but under a slightly confusing range of brand names used by the Piersanti company (so you may need to change the name if you use the Wine-searcher link above): Follonica in Holland and Germany, Venere in Denmark, Raphael in the US. In the UK it is known as Pontemagno and available from Haynes, Hanson & Clark, Adnams, Tanners, House of Townend and Portland Wine Company, and Asda apparently sell it under the Follonica label, although I could not find it on their website. All the brands are available in Italy, mostly in hotels and restaurants.

The producer's website gives the following background to the company and its impressive growth over the last 60 years: 'The Pontemagno wine producing company was founded in 1955 in the village of St Paolo de Jesi by Giovanni Piersanti and his children Silveria and Carlo, who had already acquired a notable expertise in the field of sparkling wines. Later on Carlo's sons, Giuliano and Ottavio, took over the business. They have inherited from their father the passion for hard work receiving great satisfaction in return. In the beginning the wine house was no more than a room, where mostly sparkling wines were bottled, since they were the most popular. In the mid-eighties, by following more and more demanding market requirements, Piersanti enlarged its premises and built a modern warehouse of more than 2,000 square metres, which has now become the core of the business, with a capacity of over 20,000 quintals (2,000 tonnes) of wine in stainless steel tanks.'

My enthusiasm for this lip-smacking bargain was barely diminished by the number of emails it took to find out where you can buy it and under which name.

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