Le Marche, one of the lesser known and less traveled regions of Italy is in my books, an unsung hero of the country. Located on the east side of the country, halfway down the Adriatic coast, it has everything going for it. Rolling hills, mountains, seasides, beaches, unparalleled local cuisine and of course native grape varieties that are gaining more ground on the international stage. Verdicchio, perhaps the most famous grape to come out of Le Marche is one of Italy’s oldest white grapes, and one of the only Italian white grapes capable of ageing. It shows its versatility by being made in a variety of styles: sweet (passito), still and sparkling.Coming out from behind Verdicchio’s shadow though, is a lovely little red grape called Lacrima, one of only a handful of aromatic red grapes in Italy. I’ll never forget my first experience drinking lacrima…around a table of fellow classmates/winetasters, exploring a wine made with this grape, many of us tasting it for the first time. Everything else previously tasted soon took a back seat to this surprise wine. You could’ve heard a pin drop during the initial assessment of this wine. No words were spoken as all noses were fully engaged deep into the glass, pulling out every single aroma nuance possible. I couldn’t stop smelling it, and hoped that the taste would be as equally mesmerizing. Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed. An ancient variety, lacrima was granted DOC status in 1995, but was in danger of becoming extinct with only seven hectares remaining at the time. Lacrima means ‘tear’, because of its very thin skins, they break easily causing violet juice to run down the grape as if it were crying. Because of this, it makes growing the grape challenging and careful handling is required in both the vineyard and winery. It’s worth it though, because one smell and taste of the lavender, green cardomom, roses, blackberry, pink pepper, asian spices and juniper berries will have you hooked for life! Like it’s white counterpart Verdicchio, it too can be made in a variety of styles: sparkling rose, still, lightly sweet (lower alcohol), and an unctuously sweet dessert style. There is nothing quite like a chilled sparkling lacrima to enjoy on the patio on a hot day, or to surprise your guests with a different sort of celebratory bubble. Now, with the cooler days (& nights) of Autumn descending quickly upon us, time to turn the ovens back on and cook up a delectable roast lamb, duck, or rabbit, making lacrima extremely versatile for both the heavy and lighter roasted meats. And for dessert? The sweet styles work marvelously with chocolate, especially raspberry or blackberry chocolate! One of my favourite producers, Marotti Campi, is one of the many family owned wineries of the area, and Lorenzo is passionate about making quality wine, and I proudly sell (& drink) several styles of their lacrima available in our market.
Having tasted all styles of lacrima, I can attest to the quality and amazing uniqueness of this grape. If you have not yet had a chance to experience lacrima in any of its forms, I encourage you to go out and find some! It is an experience you are sure to not forget!
This post is part of the #ItalianFWT, Italian Food Wine Travel group. Here’s some other posts you can read about for some amazing ideas on wines for fall! Check them out, then head over to the Twitter page to ask us any questions!
Jeff at Food Wine Click, gets real with his directive to Finish Up the Rosato, It’s Barolo Time- Italian FWT
Jennifer at Vino Travels introduces us to Badia a Coltibuono: Beginnings by Monks in Gaiole in Chianti
Jane at Always Ravenous is bringing in the new season by Leaning into Fall with Beef Short Ribs and Nebbiolo
Lauren, The Swirling Dervish, is our helpful guide to Transition into Fall with the Wines from Südtirol / Alto Adige
Wendy from A Day In The Life On The Farm crafts a tempting pairing of Pappardelle al Ragu Di Cinghiale and a Monsanto Chianti Classico
Camilla from Culinary Adventures With Camilla shares her secrets with A Few of My Favorite Fall Things: Truffles, Cheese, & Barolo
Katarina of Grapevine Adventures encourages readers to Welcome Fall with a Taurasi DOCG from Irpinia
As this post is being published, I have returned to Le Marche, where I can be found soaking up the sun by the seaside or hiking up the mountainside, inevitably drinking lacrima! Salute!