The 2020 Ribona is delicate and understated in the glass, showing sweet white flowers, wet stone and peach skins. The Ribona then takes a turn toward the savory spectrum, silky in feel and cool-toned, with citrus-laced orchard fruits. It leaves the palate dry yet refreshed, with a salty twang of minerality that lingers. Drinking range: 2021 - 2024 Rating: 87 Eric Guido, www.vinous.com (Oct 2021)
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This wine is produced with Ribona grapes, a rare variety that is also called Maceratino, because it is almost exclusively grown in the province of Macerata. It is a crisp and full-flavoured wine, characterized by the intense fragrances typical of this grape variety, intensified by the cryomaceration of grapes before fermentation. Verdicchio Marino (Sea Verdicchio) is another name for Ribona, which is perfect with both traditional and creative fish dishes of Adriatic coast.Winemaker's notes (Mar 2021)
Boccadigabbia was part of the Bonaparte estate in the Marche after the annexation of the Marche by the Napoleonic kingdom of Italy in 1808, which partly explains the presence of Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the range. It was only really after the second world war that the 1200 hectare estate, of which Boccadigabbia was just one farm, began to be broken up and sold off. Current owner Elvidio (Elvio) Alessandri's father Mario bought the farm in 1956 directly from His Imperial Highness Prince Luigi Napoleone Bonaparte.
The original 10 hectare vineyard is close to the sea and faces south-west. The vineyards are on sandy, chalk soil and stretch from the top of the hills to the Caronte depression which runs down into the Adriatic. The area has a micro climate quite different from some of the neighbouring valleys, with wide temperature variations. Here the family's ambition was to produce wines which recreated those that had achieved such renown in the Napoleonic era.
In 1996, the family bought another vineyard about 25 km from the sea, in Macerata province, further into the heart of the Marche. These vineyards have allowed an expansion into the more indigenous local varieties, such as Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Maceratino (Ribona), and Verdicchio.
Ribona, also known as Sea Verdiccio or Maceratino (the latter because it is unique to the Macerata province) is one of the delightful surprises of Italian viticulture, one of the answers to the question 'what are all these varieties?' when you are told Italy has 350 authorised grapes and possibly another 500 that are 'recognised'. There are only 244 hectares of Ribona, so it really is a bit of a rarity, but it has come to be seen as one of the qualitative grapes of the Marche, and its popularity may increase.
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