Angela Velenosi may not be a superhero but after meeting her, I have no doubt that she is certainly a super woman. An ambitious and determined visionary, Angela co-founded Velenosi winery in 1984 with virtually no experience or capital. Today, Velenosi is the second-largest family owned winery in the Le Marche region on Italy's Adriatic Coast. The heart of the company is in the province of Ascoli Piceno and Velenosi annually produces 2.5 million bottles of more than 20 different wines. Velenosi has been acknowledged with some of the industry's most prestigious accolades, including being recognized twice by Wine Spectator as one of Italy's top wineries. Velenosi consulting winemaker Attilio Pagli was honored as one of the 30 best winemakers in the world by Decanter Magazine. Angela's business savvy and commitment to showcasing the beauty of Le Marche's indigenous grapes led to her being elected as the President of the area's wine consortium - Consorzio di Tutela Vini Piceni.
One of the joys in tasting the Velenosi portfolio is that it showcases lesser-known grape varieties like Passerina, Pecorino, and Lacrima that beautifully express the terroir of the Le Marche region. Velenosi's hilltop vineyards are 200-300 meters above sea level and the clay & limestone soil are ideal for quality winemaking. If you're looking to try some unique and delicious Italian wines that are also quite affordable, here are three from the Velenosi portfolio that I highly recommend.
Velenosi Passerina Brut ($15) is a very pretty sparkling wine. It has fine bubbles and lovely aromas & flavors of citrus and acacia flowers with a hint of brioche. Dry and delicate, this sip is a perfect apéritif.
Pecorino wine may not be as well known as the Italian cheese of the same name but it should be. Velenosi Pecorino Villa Angela DOC ($10) is a vibrant sip made from 100% Pecorino grapes and has layers of flavor - citrus with a dash of herbal and exotic fruits. If you're wondering about the name, many believe that since pecora means sheep in Italian, it could refer to the seasonal transfers of shepherds and their flocks in those regions where the Pecorino grape grows.
Bold but not overpowering, Velenosi Lacrima di Morro d'Alba Querciantica DOC ($15) really wowed me. Made from 100% Lacrima grapes, it is a full-bodied and velvety red with balanced flavors of dark berries, cassis, violet, and a hint of spice. Lacrima means tear in Italian and the skin of this grape is so delicate that when it ripens, the skin pops and a drop of juice falls from the grape that is reminiscent of a teardrop. A perfectly poetic match with spicy food, steak, and even pizza.