Rediscover a long forgotten wine

A lovely label for a loved wine

The Pecorino Grape

The grape my father used to make his wine

Looking back at my childhood I remember our dinner table talk often revolved around the topic of wines and grapes, not only during harvesting time, but also during the year when it was time for pruning, tending the grounds, bottling the wine or getting ready for the new crop.

Inevitably the subject of many conversations between my father and my uncle, “winemaker in chief”, was “Uva Pecorino” as they used to call the grape that was the most popular for wine making in the area. There was another grape that came second, the “uva Passerina,” but that was less influential and much less diffused in my hometown and surrounds.

The Pecorino grape was the ubiquitous grape. Easy to cultivate, it was the right grape for the microclimate of the Umbrian Valley where I used to live. Vines used to be attached to trees, since there was neither the knowledge nor the financial option of investing money in a vineyard that was professionally planned. As kids we used to climb trees and eat the grapes, which were deliciously sweet.

During Cindy’s and my recent trip to Italy I had the happy opportunity to re-discover this grape in the form of wine during one of those super hot afternoons in Italy.

We had just arrived in Pescocostanzo, a lovely little town on the Abruzzo “Altopiano delle Cinque Miglia” where we checked in to our small B&B before searching for a place to have a nice lunch. Our breakfast had been an early one and we were both starving. The hotel owner suggested “da Paolino” restaurant and there we went. Quickly we ordered our lunch and a bottle of wine. You guessed it, a Pecorino wine made in the province of Chieti, an area not too far from Pescocostanzo. It was a perfect choice for the day’s temperature and a match for our generous and peppery “Tagliolino Cacio e Pepe” first course.

The wine was a real pleasant surprise, light yellow-straw color, very clear like crystal with light green reflections, nice and fruity with a delicate scent of plum and notes of grapefruit and lemon, light wildflower and almond with a finish of freshly cut grass. Full bodied, dry and well balanced. It was an excellent choice for that time of the afternoon and the generous Abruzzo cuisine.

I look forward to returning there to drink more of that lovely wine made from the grape that reminds me of a time long ago forgotten.

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