Aldo Cifola runs this 16ha estate with quiet determination and a confidence that comes not from arrogance but from watching sales boom and the awards roll in. He assumed the reins in 1985 after his father, Casimiro, retired and Aldo quickly set about improving what was already a winning formula. His top wine, Mirum, has now scooped the Tre Bicchiere award (Italy’s wine Oscars) on four separate occasions.
No rocket science here: just low yielding, late harvest, old vine Verdicchio sourced from a marvellous parcel high in the Apennines. The cold nights and hot days in the Matelica valley deliver a rare balance of lively acidity and high alcohol reminiscent of Burgundy. None of the white wines sees any oak as Aldo believes that barrel ageing is superfluous if the quality of fruit is sufficient. The 2011 Verdicchio shows guava, Braeburn apple and an ethereal herbal note. The 2010 Mirum has more fruit but also more of the grip conferred by the mineral-rich soils of Matelica with superb natural acidity. Aldo and I recently tasted vintages back to 1993 and I was left in no doubt as to this wine’s astonishing longevity. Without exception the wines were vigorous, fresh and still acquiring complexity. Mirum offers extraordinary value.