Colli Ripani Pharus Offida Ninfa Ripana Passerina DOC (2010)

Two thoughts on Le Marche:

1) No matter what I do, I want to call it “leh marsh”, as one would likely speak these letters were they in French. These words simply do not look Italian. I’ve been living with the fact that it is pronounced “Lay Markay” in Italian for some time now, and I still can’t really come to grips with it.

2) Vino Italiano, the bible of Italian wine, does not even mention Passerina as one of the “others” in the KEY GRAPE VARIETIES section on Le Marche, which makes it all the stranger that I found this wine in Pennsylvania. In fact, the book also says, quite strongly, that “Marche white wine can be summed up in one word: verdicchio. There are a handful of other DOC whites produced throughout the region that don’t feature the grape. But these wines… don’t amount to much.” (p244)

Considering that I’ve never (to my knowledge) even tried verdicchio, it’s somewhat amusing that I got to try Passerina first, but I’ve got to take what I can get (especially living in PA).

One other point I got from Vino Italiano was that Le Marche is a great region for value right now – these wines do not have name cache and thus are generally very nicely priced. The only issue, of course, is that they are somewhat hard to find. Hopefully, however, I’ll have some Rosso Piceno or Conero to share with you sometime soon. For now, however, it’s Passerina!

Tasting Notes:

Aroma of tropical fruits, mostly banana. Taste features more banana, coconut and melon. Nice sweetness up front, with a crisp, acidic finish that incorporates notes of lemon and minerals. Very smooth, food friendly, interesting. I’d buy again at $14.


Published by Mike Madaio

One of the co-founders of Pennsylvania Vine Company, Mike is a food & drink writer based in the western suburbs of Philadelphia. His work has appeared in publications such as Wine Enthusiast, Edible Philly and Philly Beer Scene, and he has achieved VIA Italian Wine Ambassador certification. Mike is obsessed with exploring Italian wines of all kinds, especially old-world-style bottles that feature savory, funky notes, achieve great balance and work well with food.