There is no better way to understand the differences between Verdicchio grown in Jesi and Verdicchio grown in Matelica than by looking at a relief map, like this one from google maps
While Jesi lies at a lower altitude not far from the sea (in Ancona province), Matelica lies at a higher altitude (in Macerata province) in a valley bordered by mountain chains to the east and west.
In Jesi, air currents arrive from the Adriatic from the east.
In Macerata, the currents runs south-north.
There is a fundamental difference between the two macroclimates that delivers radically different expressions of the same grape.
Above: note how the Esino river of Jesi runs west-east whereas the higher-elevation Matelica valley runs south-north.
In Jesi, where the soils are sandier and the temperatures are slightly warmer, the wines tend to be more “fruit-driven.” In other words, fruit aromas and flavors dominate the tasting profile.
In Matelica, where temperatures are cooler (thanks to higher elevation) and the soils are denser, the wines have more floral character.
Jesi is the more famous of the two appellations, no doubt. This is due in part to the popularity of inexpensive Verdicchio di Castelli di Jesi that was wildly popular in the U.S. in the 1970s (remember the fish-shaped bottles?).
But Matelica is considered by many to be the more interesting of the two because of its greater complexity and nuance.
Some might say that the salinity in Jesi has a counterpart in the true minerality of the wines of Matelica.
The Belisario Verdicchio di Matelica Vigneti B is made from nearly 30-year-old, organically farmed vines that like at more than 400 meters above sea level.
Vinified in stainless steel, the wine’s racy acidity is rivaled only by its intense minerality and rich floral notes. We opened a bottle the other night and were blown away by its unctuousness and mesmerizing character. And we couldn’t help but think to ourselves: those among us who only follow wines from Jesi really don’t know what they’re missing.