While Italy is one of the largest producers of wine in the world, its whites are often regarded as simple. Four regions in central Italy are making an effort to add more character and flavour to their white wines: Umbria, Italy's land-locked region famous for its Orvieto; Emilia-Romagna, home of Parma ham, Parmesan cheese and Bolognese sauce; Marche (pronounced mar-kay) and Abruzzo, two mountainous regions hugging the coastline.
Pecora, the Italian for sheep, gives it name to both the Pecorino grape and Italian cheeses made from sheep's milk. While an ancient grape variety, its tiny yields made it non-commercial and almost extinct until saved in the 1980s. Grown mostly in Marche and Abruzzo, its high acidity matches well with oily and creamy dishes.
Trebbiano is often added to a blend of more flavoursome grape varieties to perk up the acidity and add freshness. It is popular with olive oil-dressed salads with chicken, white fish or cheeses.
Verdicchio is derived from verde for the tint of a green hue the almost colourless wines can have. [...]