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Wine for Thought: Pecorino from Italy

June 23, 2010 6 comments

To start off the Cocktail Fodder’s wine section I’d like to introduce our readers to an obscure, off-the-beaten-path wine varietal known as Pecorino. In this particular case the wine and grape are one and the same: Pecorino wine is made from the Pecorino grape. Grown predominately in the east-central Italian regions of Abruzzo and the neighboring Marches (see map of Italy below) this wine is a pleasant surprise for the uninitiated. With summer in full swing we all want to drink wines that are light, clean, and crisp to beat back the heat. Most people think immediately of the go-to whites of recent memory: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Chenin Blanc, Riesling, etc. While these are all great varietals for the summer months, wouldn’t it be nice to find some indigenous grapes from remote places in the world that you’ve never heard of before that might satisfy your white wine craving? You might also impress your friends while you’re at it.

The official appellation of the Pecorino grape in the Marches is known as Offida Pecorino. Once cast off as being a grape that produced too astringent wines, a group of devoted young wine makers entered the region and decided to have a go at making it into a wine with a nice mixture of fruit, crispness, and minerality. The Pecorino that I recently tried was medium-bodied, appropriately acidic and exhibited a nice depth of fruit with prominent notes of white peach and pear on both the nose and palate. In terms of food pairings for this wine think rich salads, Asian-inspired cuisine, and chicken dishes. For instance, the round fruit on the palate would act as a great counter to the spiciness of a Thai dish. Enjoy!

Until next time, keep swirling and sipping.