Friday, May 12, 2023

Liven up your palate and weekend with Pecorino

When I say pecorino is the first thing that comes to your mind wine?  Most likely you’ve heard more about pecorino cheese vs. Pecorino wines.  The Pecorino grape is an ancient grape that has been found in documentation since the 2nd century BC and is believed to have been brought here by the Greeks.  It once faced extinction due to it’s finicky nature and low yields and was not favored over other grapes that were easier to produce at higher yields.  It was revived in the 80's thanks to Guido Cocci Grifoni whom brought Pecorino back to life and today is one of the great white grapes of central eastern Italy.

The Grape ~ Pecorino

Pecorino is mostly associated with the Abruzzo and Marche regions of central Italy, but you can also find this grape produced in other regions including Liguria, Tuscany and Umbria.  It’s a grape that favors higher altitudes with cool conditions including sun and fluctuating temperatures. 

Pecorino comes from the Italian word pecora, translating to sheep.  It is believed that this grape was named after the sheep that grazed in the vineyards of where these grapes were produced in what is known as the transumanza, when the shepherds were herding the sheep and migrating them south to Puglia.  Along the way the sheep munched on these fine grapes as a snack.  It’s even been said that due to the consumption of the grapes the shepherds would pay the farmers in pecorino cheese, hence the name.  Whatever story is true it’s fun to share while enjoying these fine wines.

Pecorino is a thin skinned grape that ripens early.  It’s a wine that tends to have high sugars, but is balanced by lively bright acidity.  It produces wines that are dry, crisp with floral aromatics that lend citrus zest, tropical notes, hints of herbs with a minerally sapid finish. 

A key appellation in the Marche region to experience Pecorino is the Offida DOCG in the Ascoli Piceno province.  

The Wines

A couple weeks ago I featured Cantina Tollo and today I'm sharing their 2022 Cantina Tollo Terre di Chieti Pecorino IGP.  This wine was pale yellow with tropical and citrus aromatics.  Crisp and lively acidity with lemon notes and a slight tartness to pucker up your palate.  ABV 13.5%

2022 Cantina Tollo Terre di Chieti Pecorino IGP

I also tasted the 2021 Cantina Valle Tritana Aufinum Pecorino Terre di Chieti IGT.  This wine is made from 100% Pecorino.  Pale yellow in the glass with a greenish tinge.  Aromas of lemon, tropical fruits including pineapple.  Light, crisp and airy on the palate showing mostly lemon rind.  This winery is named after the Tritana Valley in which it resides, which is at the foothills of the Gran Sasso mountains.  This area has a microclimate of warm days and cold nights.  Quite the value at SRP $14. ABV 13% 

2021 Cantina Valle Tritana Aufinum Pecorino Terre di Chieti IGT
Wines made from Pecorino will pair well with fish, shellfish and pork and even go well with Pecorino cheese!

Check out some of my prior blogs on other suggested Pecorino wines.

*These wines were provided as samples, but opinions are always my own.

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