Offida DOCG | Denomination for still wines of all three colours from the southern coastal area of Le Marche, a region on the Adriatic coast of Italy. It takes its name from the town of Offida, a settlement dating back to the Stone Age and one of the centres of the Picene or Piceni civilization. Wine-growing has a long history in the Piceno area, having been described by numerous Latin authors such as Cato, Varrone, Columella, and Pliny the Elder. Offida’s wines are made from vines traditionally cultivated in the Piceno area, namely Pecorino, Passerina and Montepulciano. Offida became a DOC in 2001, and DOCG in 2011. Wines made under the DOCG include two whites and one red (details of which are below). See also Terre di Offida DOC.

Terroir | The Offida DOCG lies in the southern part of Le Marche and runs from the coastal area up to the foothills, what Ian d’Agata describes as a ‘slowly rising plateau from the coastline toward the west,’ (Agata 2019, p229).

Production zone | The zone lies on the 43rd parallel and straddles two provinces. There are 3 communes in Fermo province and 21 communes (including Offida, from which the name of the wine is taken) in Ascoli Piceno province.

Altitude | The altitude of the cultivated vineyards is between 50 and 650 m.

Climate | The Offida region as a whole experiences cooling influences from the Adriatic. Only the coastal zone itself is characterised by really warm weather (Agata 2019, p229). The Offida DOCG disciplinare notes that the ‘area enjoys Mediterranean climatic characteristics, with hot but not sultry summers, and fairly cold and rainy winters. Average summer temperatures are between 21-23°C, while winter temperatures are between 6-7°C; the average annual precipitation is between 650 and 850 mm, with summer minimum (July) and maximum autumn fall (October–December), during the year the annual rainfall is shared on 80-90 rainy days; snowfalls are relatively rare and mostly scarce. Among the distinctive features of the area are also the average annual temperatures around 13-14°C, the average of the coldest month around 5.5-6.5°C, three summer months with averages above 20°C and a temperature range annual, understood as the difference between the average temperature of the coldest and the warmest month, of about 17-18°C. The area can be referred to as having a warm temperate climate with a not very pronounced dry season and a very hot summer. This positively influences both the vegetative condition of the plants and the accumulation of polyphenols in the skins.’

Geology | The Offida DOCG disciplinare notes that ‘from the strictly geological and evolutionary point of view, the area of ​​the DOCG Offida falls within the Periadriatic belt of the Marche region of Abruzzo, characterized by the Plipleistocene succession with conglomerate sandy deposits at its base, followed by a powerful peltic succession, within which they intercalate, with various stratigraphic heights, sandy-conglomerate horizons or sandy clayey with a tabular or lenticular geometry.’

Soils | The Offida DOCG regulation or ‘disciplinare’ it says that ‘the soils that support the DOCG Offida vineyards have characteristics such as the depth always greater than 80-100 cm, such as to allow a considerable volume of soil that can be explored by the roots, an AWC (available water capacity) always higher than 150 mm, ensuring moisture remains in the soil even during summer drought periods. From a pedogenetic point of view the soils of the vineyards are Cambisols, where the processes of pedogenesis have modified the parental material leading to the formation of a deep horizon endowed with good aggregation and porosity, that is the cambic horizon, without significant translocations of clay. These soils have a homogeneous carbonate content within the profile. The presence of a cambic horizon has positive effects on the drainage of these soils, because it improves their permeability.’

Ian D’agata (2019, p229) says there are sandy-gravel soils in the low-lying areas on the Adriatic coast, but few vineyards. In Offida in general D’Agata says the soils are clay-based, alkaline (pH 7.5–8.5) and quite deep (as stated above); and on such soils, Pecorino can produce balanced wines, with generous levels of acidity, and intense notes of yellow flowers, such as broom.

Viticulture | New plantings must be at 3,300 vines per hectare minimum. Emergency irrigation is allowed. Yields are 9 tonnes per hectare for whites, 8.5 tonne for reds plus 20% extra in favourable years.

The wines

Offida Pecorino DOCG is made from 85–100% Pecorino. An optional 0-15% of non-aromatic white or red grapes permitted in Le Marche is allowed. Offida Pecorino comes from the townships of Acquaviva Picena, Appignano del Tronto, Casteldilama, Castorano, Castignano, Cossignano, Montefiore dell’Aso, Offida, and Ripatransone, as well as part of the municipal territories of Ascoli Piceno, Colli del Tronto, Campofilone, Carassai, Cupramarittima, Grottammare, Montalto Marche, Massignano, Monsampolo del Tronto, Montedinove, Monteprandone, Pedaso, Petritoli, Rotella, and San Benedetto del Tronto, Spinetoli.

Offida Passerina DOCG is made from 85–100% Passerina. An optional 0-15% of non-aromatic white or red grapes permitted in Le Marche is allowed. It comes from the same production area as Offida Pecorino DOCG, outlined directly above.

Offida Rosso DOCG is made from 85-100% Montepulciano plus an optional 0-15% of non-aromatic red grapes permitted in Le Marche. It must age for 24 months, of which at least 12 months must be in wood and 3 in bottle. Offida Rosso comes from anywhere in the townships of Ripatransone, Offida, Acquaviva Picena, Castorano, Castel di Lama, Cossignano, and Appignano del Tronto; and from part of Ascoli Piceno, Colli del Tronto, Spinetoli, Monsampolo del Tronto, Grottammare, Massignano, Carassai, Montefiore dell’Aso, Montalto Marche, Castignano, Monteprandone and San Benedetto del Tronto.

Production | 2018 28,690hl (242 grape growers, 65 bottlers, 72 wine producers). 2 million bottles.| 2017 22,319hl. 2 million bottles. | 2016 22,919hl. 2 million  bottles. | 2010 28,159hl. | 2009 23,967hl. | 2008 22,643hl. | 2007 21,382hl. | 2006 17,344hl.

Wineries

Certified organic | Aurora. | Cocci Grifoni. | La Valle del Sole. | Tenuta di Tavignano. | Vigneti Vallorani.

Other | San Savino.

Bibliography

Dr Ian d’Agata, Italy’s Native Wine Grape Terroirs (University of California Press, 2019).

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