The Santa Barbara estate, owned by famed winemaker Stefano Antonucci, is in the small village of Barbara, about 25 miles due west of Marche’s capital and chief port, Ancona. When Stefano’s father needed a larger facility, the only suitable building available in Barbara was the old convent named Santa Barbara after an early Roman Christian martyr. That’s how the winery got its name; there’s no connection with California.
This wine is 100% Verdicchio from 25–40-year-old vines in the sandy tuff soils of Santa Barbara’s vineyards at 250 meters of elevation between the Adriatic and the Apennines. Stefano carefully fermented the fruit in temperature-controlled stainless-steel tanks using select yeast. After a short period of aging, also in tank, he bottled it. No oak was used.
Here’s how it tastes: This pale lemon-pulp yellow colored white wine bursts with aromas of peach blossoms, fresh pears, and dried citrus peel. The palate features ripe pear and apple fruit around a vivid spine of palate caressing pineapple, citrus pith, and stony minerals. The admirably long finish clings to the palate with citrus and pithy minerals and refreshes with a subtle almond note. Sip it solo, of serve it with salads, prawns, or other seafood. This is delicious now and will be great for at least two or three more years.