Friday, February 4, 2022

Pinot Nero is in Abundance in the Oltrepo Pavese

This month for our theme for our Italian Food, Wine & Travel group (#ItalianFWT) is hosted by Susannah of Vigneto Communications as she takes us to the Oltrepo Pavese wine appellation in Lombardy. When one thinks of the great wine regions of Italy I’m sure the Lombardy wine region isn’t the first that comes to mind. If you’re a fan of pinot noir the Oltrepo Pavese is a region that one must seek out as it hosts one of the largest areas under vine for Pinot Nero.  

Map of Lombardy wine region
Map of Lombardy wine region ~ copyright of Federdoc

The Area ~ Oltrepo Pavese 

The Oltrepo Pavese is located along the 45th parallel where you also find the great wine regions of the world producing Pinot Noir including Burgundy and Oregon. It’s influenced by the Mediterranean climate of the Ligurian Sea to its south and the continental climate of the Po River and mountains in Piedmont. There are over 32,000 acres under vine with over 160 producers and 1,300 growers.  

Outside of Italy, the Oltrepo Pavese is also the third largest area for Pinot Nero in Europe after Champagne and Burgundy. It has been growing there since the 1800’s. The wine produced in the Oltrepo Pavese occupies 60% of Lombardy’s total wine production, but almost half of it is kept within Italy. Its primary grapes found throughout the area are Pinot Nero, Riesling, Bonarda and Croatina that may be blended with some other native varietals.  

The Winery ~ Ca’ Di Frara 

The Ca’ Di Frara winery is the local dialect for Casa Ferrari, named after the small hamlet where it is located near Mornico Losana. The winery was founded back in 1905 by the great grandfather, Giovanni Bellani, of today’s 3rd generation family member that runs the winery today, Luca, along with the assistance of his brother Matteo. The winery is set in the hillsides receiving mild winters with warm and windy summer temperatures.  

Luca Bellani of Ca' Di Frara
Luca Bellani ~ copyright of Ca' Di Frara

There are a few types of soils where the grapes of Ca’ Di Frara are grown. Those grown in the Mornico area are high in clay, which assist with color and deeper aromas and flavors. This is where their Pinot Nero, Croatina and Barbera are grown. In the Oliva Gessi area the soils are comprised of chalk and limestone where their Pinot Grigio, Riesling and Pinot Nero for their sparkling wines are grown. 

Ca' Di Frara winery
Ca' Di Frara ~ copyright of Ca' Di Frara
The Wine 

The 2018 Ca’ Di Frara Losana Pinot Nero dell’ Oltrepo Pavese DOC wine is made from 100% Pinot Nero. The general Oltrepo Pavese DOC was established in 1970 until there was a further breakdown of other specific varietals in later years including the Pinot Nero dell’ Oltrepo Pavese DOC in 2010. Wines from this DOC require at least 95% Pinot Nero. The wine spends 12 months in barrique with an additional 12 months in the bottle. The wine was deep ruby colored in the glass with garnet hues. A fresh bouquet of ripe raspberries on the nose with a hint of cocoa. This Pinot Nero was different than what I’ve typically been used to when it comes to pinot noir as I found it quite earthy. I was surprised by some of the firm tannin on this wine up front with lingering acidity in the back showing notes of raspberry and cherry. ABV 13.5% 

2018 Ca’ Di Frara Losana Pinot Nero dell’ Oltrepo Pavese DOC

I also have a sparkling wine from this area that I received to sample, but due to getting sick this week I’ll will have to delay in trying it until I’m back to normal.  

Join us for a live chat on Twitter this Saturday at #ItalianFWT @ 11:00 am EST. In the meantime join my fellow Italian food and wine lovers as they take you through their journey to the Oltrepo Pavese. Have a great weekend! 

  • Payal of Keep the Peas shares “Just Now Discovering Oltrepò Pavese 
  • Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla adds Second Pours of Oltrepò Pavese Wines with Braised Short Ribs and Puff Pastry” 
  • Linda from My Full Wineglass brings “Flying under the radar with an Oltrepò Pavese sparkling rosé” 
  • Terri from My Good Life dishes about “Stone Crabs with Oltrepò Pavese.” 
  • Martin from Enofylz showcases “A Taste Of The Unsung Wines of Oltrepò Pavese” 
  • Deanna from Winevore posts “Wine for the Priest! from Oltrepo Pavese, Italy” 
  • Jeff from Food Wine Click! waxes about the “Surprising Wines of Oltrepò Pavese” 
  • Rupal from Syrah Queen post “Oltrepò Pavese Wines -One of Italy’s Best Kept Secret” 
  • Gwendolyn from Wine Predator showcases “2 Pinot Nero from Oltrepo’ Pavese #ItalianFWT” 
  • David from Cooking Chat reflects on “Tasting and Pairing with Oltrepo’ Pavese Wines” 
  • Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm checks out “Cheesy Vegetable Lasagna paired with Oltrepo Pavese Wine” 
  • Liz from What’s In that Bottle suggests we “Check Out “the Other Side of the Pó” for Tasty Italian Wines “ 
  • Lisa from The Wine Chef writes “Off The Beaten Path: Oltrepò Pavese, A Wine Region to Know About.” 
  • Susannah from Avvinare, writes about “Wine Treasures To Be Found in Oltrepò Pavese.'”

*This wine was provided as a sample, but opinions are always my own.


  1. I have never heard of this area before and I AM a huge Pinot Noir (Nero) fan. So, very happy to make the region's acquaintance. I can't wait to learn more about the wines from the group...and to track down a few more bottles on my own.

  2. Interesting....Michigan is on the 45th Parallel as well....I completely missed the connection during my research.

  3. Jennifer, So glad you were able to taste the Pinot Nero and I hope when you are better, you get to try the sparklng wine you have. Feel better. Oltrepò is such a fun discovery. Susannah

  4. And now I know where to look for Italian PN. I certainly enjoyed the one I had, and yours sounds lovely too!

  5. I love an earthy Pinot Noir so I'd really enjoy the Ca’ Di Frara Losana Pinot Nero. You've chosen great photos!

  6. I was also quite surprised at the remarkable difference between Burgundy and Oltrepò pinot noirs. Burgundy pinots tend to be more delicate than the Oltrepò ones I have had so far, which are quite tannic and earthy. Very curious to discover how they age. Nevertheless, it is an area I am looking forward to visiting this summer when we're there.