Bianchello del Metauro DOC | White wine DOC which dates from 1969. It is made from 95-100% Biancame (aka ‘Bianchello’) grapes grown in the north of the province of Pesaro e Urbino in the north of Le Marche, a region on the Adriatic coast of Italy. An optional 0-5% Malvasia Bianca Lunga Fina is allowed for its fragrance. ‘Bianchello’, which means ‘the little white one’, can be made in three ways: as a still dry white (for which a Superiore version is also allowed), as a sparkling (‘spumante’) wine, and as a sweet or ‘passito’ wine made from dried grapes.

History | It is said that Rome was saved in 207 BC from the invading Carthaginians who were forced to turn back at the banks of the Metauro River thanks to Bianchello. ‘The Carthaginian troops of Asdrubal (Hannibal’s much less clever cousin) got carried away in their libations while campaigning in Metauro, and lost the battle of Metauro to the Romans. Had Rome lost that battle, Carthage would have won the Punic wars,’ (Ian D’Agata, 2014, p.197).

Production zone | The wine comes from 18 townships in the low hills along the Metauro river basin. These include the entire territories of the municipalities of: Fano, Cartoceto, Saltara, Serrungarina, Montefelcino, Isola del Piano, Fossombrone, S. Ippolito, Montemaggiore, S. Giorgio, Piagge, S. Costanzo, Orciano, Barchi, Fratterosa, the island administration of the municipality of Mondavio called Cavallara, included between the municipal territories of Serrungarina, Montemaggiore, Piagge, S. Giorgio and Orciano, and part of the municipal territories of Urbino and Fermignano.

Terroir | ‘The better vineyards face the river from the north,’ (Burton Anderson, 1990, p.174). ‘Soils of clay mixed with sand and gravel,’ (Burton Anderson, 1990, p.173).

Wine style | Bianchello del Metauro is sometimes called a ‘vinello’, a ‘light, fresh sort of wine you can drink with abandon, pale straw in colour, flinty dry and delicate with the subtlest of fruity bouquets and a palate-cleansing acidity,’ says Burton Anderson (1982, p.320), while its ‘lemony zest appeals to summer tourists,’ (Burton Anderson, 1990, p174). It shows ‘lemony zest’ characters says Burton Anderson (1990, p174). Daniel Thomases and David Gleave MW describe it as a ‘bland and anonymous white,’ (OCW: 2006, p.425-6).

Production | 2018 13,816hl (90 producers overall, 68 grape growers, 25 wine producers, 26 bottlers). 1.9 million bottles.| 2017 11,242hl. 1 million bottles. | 2016 14,996hl. 1.34 million bottles. | 2010 14,846hl. | 2007 14,815hl. | 2006 15,080hl.

Wineries

Certified organic | Bruscia.

Bibliography

Burton Anderson, Vino – The Wines and Winemakers of Italy (London, 1982).

Burton Anderson, The Wine Atlas of Italy (Mitchell Beazley, 1990) p.171-179.

Production data | 2006-2010 Federdoc as reported by I Numeri del Vino. 2016-2018 Valoritalia.