Little known and lightly traveled, Le Marche is a land of walled villages, rolling farms, craggy hillsides, sandy beaches, and great terroir. My drive in from the west revealed the region's isolation: The road tunneled through the soaring Apennine Mountains, which taper off in a series of valleys that open to the Adriatic. In one of these you find the more prominent of Le Marche's two verdicchio appellations, the denominazione di origine controllata (D.O.C.) Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi. Here, humid ocean breezes bring roundness to the wines, and calcareous clay soil lends acidity. I stopped in at the Garofoli winery, where the luscious, single-estate verdicchio called "Podium," which spends a year in stainless steel barrels, demonstrates the grape's aging capacity. Carlo Garofoli, a member of the family winery's fourth generation, shared with me his "Podium" from 1999. Green-tinged when young (verdicchio's name derives from the Italian verde, meaning green), it had acquired a deep golden hue and a full, velvety feel. Its acidity had mellowed to reveal a ripe apricot flavor, mixed with a burnt sugar note, like that of creme brulee. Garofoli recorked the bottle. "I'm taking the rest of this home," he said.