- Marche, Italy
“Leopardo Felici has a great hand with the Verdicchio grape, producing two of the Marche’s best white wines. Clearly,the vineyard location in the cool-climate, hilly area between Apiro and Cupramontana is a big help, as the wines have high natural acidity, a strong mineral overlay and wonderful clarity. But strong viticultural and winemaking skills also play a role. Felici is one of the few producers of “vino biologico” in Italy talented enough to avoid making wines with offputting aromas, and his decision not to use oak (only stainless steel and cement vats are used) also contributes to the precision of the wines. Andrea Felici is a name to watch in Italian wine circles.” —Ian d'Agata, Vinous, July 2015
The winery of Andrea Felici is located in the Marche region, between Apiro and Cupramontana, the heart of the homeland of Verdicchio. Nestled on a hill at the foot of Mount San Vicino at an altitude of 516 meters above sea level, Azienda Andrea Felici possesses a wonderful landscape; a green valley with tilted slopes, blanketed by beautiful woods and vines, marked by the high peaks of Gran Sasso and Maiella to the south and Mount Catria to the north. The climate is dry, with average annual temperatures in the mid-50s and a constant breeze throughout the year. This is the southwest corner of the Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi appellation. The area is further inland, with more limestone, a bit less influence from the Adriatic Sea, and temperature swings between day and night that are more drastic.
This winery practices organic viticulture with certification. Grapes are harvested by hand, the clusters are gently placed in small boxes and the grapes are pressed within a few hours, and temperature controlled fermentation is achieved without oxygen. About half of the harvest ferments on its skins, only during the kinetic part of alcoholic fermentation. The wine matures and mellows in cement and stainless steel vats for a period much longer than the minimum prescribed by regulations.
The winery started estate-bottling in 2003. Today, the 15-hectare estate is run by Leopardo Felici, whose passion for and dedication to Verdicchio are immediately obvious, as is his broad knowledge of the wine world; before taking over the estate in 2007, his father insisted he gain more wine experience, so Leo worked as sommelier in London at Gordon Ramsey's Savoy and in Florence at Enoteca Pinchiorri. The winery produces only two wines: a single-vineyard bottling– “Il Cantico della Figura”– and a cuvée, “Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore.” Both wines are marked by incredible purity of fruit and pronounced minerality; these are high-quality wines that are immediately pleasurable and approachable, but which are also characterized by longevity and the purity of the Verdicchio grape in this unique landscape.
To view Andrea Felici's website, click here.