Ancona is the administrative center of the Marches, whose provinces include Ascoli Piceno, Macerata and Pesaro-Urbino. The region ranks 15th in size (9,694 square kilometers) and 13th in population (1,455,000)
In the region of Marches, Verdicchio di Matelica, is grown in limited quantities in a mountainous zone, which can have more body and strength than wines from Jesi. Verdicchio from both DOC zones makes convincing sparkling wine as well, usually by the sealed tank method of fermentation, but also occasionally by the classical method in bottle. The recent Esino DOC, which coincides with parts of the two Verdicchio zones, provides for red and white wines, usually fresh and fruity. The region’s other white wines, notably Bianchello del Metauro and Falerio dei Colli Ascolani, are usually light and zesty and also go nicely with seafood.
The red wines of the Marches are based chiefly on Sangiovese and Montepulciano, sometimes blended, sometimes not. The most important in terms of volume is Rosso Piceno, dominated by Sangiovese. It comes from a DOC zone covering much of the eastern flank of the region, stretching from the superiore area between Ascoli Piceno and the sea north through the coastal hills to Senigallia.
Rosso Conero, dominated by Montepulciano, has gained even more praise, thanks to the devotion to quality shown by its leading producers. It originates in a zone on the slopes of the Conero massif south of Ancona. Both Rosso Conero and Rosso Piceno were habitually made to drink within two to four years, when they are persuasively round and fresh in flavor, though certain producers have made wines that age remarkably well from good vintage sometimes for a decade or more.
The northern part of the region is the DOC zone of Colli Pesaresi, where the prominent wine is a Sangiovese, which bears a strong family resemblance to the wines of that variety of neighboring Romagna. Although the emphasis remains strongly on native vines, recent results with such outside varieties as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon have shown eminent promise in the temperate hills of the Marches.