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  Wine Tasting Issue 166, October 2017   
Contrasts of Pelaverga and Petit VerdotContrasts of Pelaverga and Petit Verdot Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 165, September 2017 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on Twitter 

Contrasts of Pelaverga and Petit Verdot

Piedmont in comparison with France, through the contrasts of Pelaverga, typical variety of Saluzzo area, and Petit Verdot, a red grape from Bordeaux

 Italy, like we already said in the past, has a richness of wine grape varieties like no other country in the world. Every region has indigenous varieties identifying their respective territories, many of them are of great enological interest and they are found in many regions of Italy. A success that, in many cases, is not limited to the Italian territory only and many of them have been successful in catching the interest of producers in other countries as well. The richness of wine grape varieties of France certainly is more limited when compared to Italy, however many of these grapes have become famous and successful all over the world, Italy included. Many French varieties have undeniably contributed to the relaunching of Italian enology, progressively becoming more and more common in the vineyards of Italy to the detriment of indigenous grapes of the Italian regions.

 They are, of course, two countries being at the absolute top of worldwide enology, both for the varieties of their respective grapes and wines. This month we are going to compare two varieties very different one from each other, belonging to these two countries - Italy and France - from which are produced different wines. Both varieties, it should be said, are not exactly famous grapes, however their wines are always characterized by the remarkable personality capable of making them unique in the wine scene. From Piedmont, in fact, we are going to taste Pelaverga, a red berried grape typical in the Saluzzo area and, in particular, famous for wines from Verduno, both in province of Cuneo. The grape from Piedmont will be compared to a French variety - from Bordeaux, to be precise - once quite popular and used for the famous wines of this territory, now clearly destined to a more marginal role.

 

Pelaverga


 

 A variety of uncertain origins, Pelaverga is known to be found in Piedmont since a very long time and, in particular, in the territory of Saluzzo, in province of Cuneo. The enological journey of Pelaverga starts in relatively recent times as this variety was in the past usually used for the consumption as a fruit. Today Pelaverga is mainly used for the production of wines, which are getting a quite good success, in particular those produced in the territory of Verduno. Talking about Pelaverga we need to clarify the fact there actually are two grapes having this name. Pelaverga, typical in the area of Saluzzo, and Pelaverga Piccolo (Small Pelaverga) mainly cultivated in Verduno. These two varieties, although sharing the same name, actually are two distinct varieties and have nothing in common, despite they make wines with pretty similar organoleptic qualities.

 It should be said, for a long time it was believed the Pelaverga varieties of Saluzzo and Verduno were the same, probably because of the similar characteristics of their wines. Recent researches done on both varieties have allowed finding out they are indeed distinct grapes and having no genetic connection. The result of this research has therefore forced the differentiation of the two grapes, by distinguishing the variety cultivated in Verduno with Pelaverga Piccolo name. In both cases, wines produced with these grapes have a pleasing and evident spicy note in which is perceived white pepper, in particular those made in Verduno. Pelaverga makes wines of moderate body and with an evident transparency, with an aromatic profile rich in red fruits and flowers, as well as a moderate crispness and astringency. Characteristics that, with the help of the enological techniques used with this grape, make of Pelaverga an immediate and pleasing wine which is usually best to drink it in its youth.

 

Petit Verdot

 A grape originating from the territory of Bordeaux, Petit Verdot is now marginally used for the production of red wines of that area. The reasons of such a marginal notoriety in its homeland is mainly because of viticoltural and enological issues. Petit Verdot, in its homeland, tends in fact to ripe late and, for this reason, it is less and less found in vineyards of Bordeaux, reaching full ripeness when the must of the other varieties is already fermenting in the winery. Despite the progressive loss of interest for Petit Verdot, the Médoc is the Bordeaux area in which this grape is more common than others. Some producers are in fact reluctant to replace Petit Verdot, while hoping the meteorological conditions of the year to be favorable for this variety in order to properly ripe and use it in their wines. The reason is quite obvious: when Petit Verdot reaches full ripeness, it is capable of giving wines a stronger personality and character, as well as a pleasing astringency, color and body.

 If it is true in Bordeaux, in the least favorable vintages, Petit Verdot ripens late, therefore compromising its use, this is not what happens in warmer areas where this French variety has proven to be more reliable and giving remarkable results. It should in fact be said Petit Verdot is successfully cultivated and used for making interesting wines in Italy - Agro Pontino and Maremma areas in particular - Spain, Portugal, Australia and California. In these lands, in fact, as opposed to what happens in Bordeaux - that is blended to the famous reds of that territory - Petit Verdot is usually vinified alone with extremely interesting results. Wines produced with Petit Verdot are rich in personality, giving sensations of black berried fruits to which frequently follow spicy aromas and - in cool vintages - herbaceous aromas as well. Characterized by structure and body, Petit Verdot wines can also be appreciated for the pleasing astringency of tannins, well balanced by roundness and a pretty low acidity.

 

The Tasting


The color of
Petit Verdot
The color of Petit Verdot

 As usual, the wines of our tasting by contrast are produced with the respective varieties only. The first wine, the one produced with Pelaverga, will be a bottle belonging to the Denominazione d'Origine Controllata (Denomination of Controlled Origin) Colline Saluzzesi. We should notice monovarietal wines of this area in which grape is stated in the label, according to the production disciplinary must be made from the stated variety only. We will therefore pick a Colline Saluzzesi Pelaverga of the most revent vintage and vinified in inert containers. As for Petit Verdot, our choice will be in favor of a bottle produced in the Agro Pontino area - therefore in Latium region - by choosing, also in this case, the most recent vintage and vinified in inert containers. Both wines - Pelaverga and Petit Verdot - will be served in tasting glasses at the temperature of 17 °C (63 °F).

 The first phase - in which it is evaluated the appearance of wine - will emphasize substantial differences, just like in the following phases. After having poured the wines in their respective glasses, let's start our tasting by contrast from Colline Saluzzesi Pelaverga. Let's tilt the glass over a white surface and evaluate the color at the base of the glass. We will see a brilliant ruby red color with nuances - observed at the edge of the wine, where it becomes thinner - showing evident purple hues. Transparency is pretty moderate and the object put between the glass and white surface is clearly visible. Let's now pass to Petit Verdot: the color is evidently darker and more intense with a very deep ruby red hue. Nuances of Petit Verdot confirm the ruby red color, sometimes showing purple hints. Transparency of this wine is lower than Pelaverga: the object beyond the glass is hardly seen.

 Difference between Pelaverga and Petit Verdot are also evident in their aromas. In Pelaverga are perceived aromas of red fruits, whereas in Petit Verdot are mainly perceived aromas of black fruits. Both varieties have a spicy character, a pleasing hint giving these grapes an elegant personality. To the nose Pelaverga gives aromas of cherry, strawberry, raspberry and plum, as well as flowery aromas of geranium and cyclamen. An identifying characteristic of Pelaverga is also a spicy hint of white pepper, sometimes nutmeg as well. To the nose, Petit Verdot has a more robust profile in which are perceived aromas of black cherry, plum, black currant and blueberry, as well as sensations of violet. Also in this case it is perceived a spicy aroma recalling white pepper. When it is not perfectly ripe, wines produced with Petit Verdot express a herbaceous profile in which can be perceived green bell pepper.

 Let's now proceed with the evaluation of the olfactory profiles of Pelaverga and Petit Verdot, starting from the wine produced in the Colline Saluzzesi area. By holding the glass in vertical position and, without swirling, do the first smell in order to appreciate opening aromas. From the glass are perceived aromas of cherry, raspberry and strawberry as well as a flowery aroma of geranium. After having swirled the glass - in order to favor the development of other aromas therefore completing the olfactory profile - let's do a second smell. We will perceive aromas of plum, blueberry and cyclamen as well as the characteristic spicy aroma recalling white pepper. Let's now pass to the evaluation of Petit Verdot starting from the opening aromas. From the glass are perceived aromas of black cherry, plum and black currant, as well as a pleasing aroma of violet. Let's now swirl the glass: the profile of Petit Verdot is completed by blueberry and blackberry, to which frequently follow the spicy hint of black pepper.

 Differences between Pelaverga and Petit Verdot are still evident even in the gustatory phase. The first wine we will taste is Colline Saluzzesi Pelaverga. Let's take a sip of this wine and evaluate its attack, that is the initial sensations perceived in the mouth. The attack of Pelaverga is characterized by a moderate astringency balanced by the round sensation of alcohol, also in this case of moderate intensity. It is also perceived a pleasing crispness and a structure of medium body, as well as flavors of cherry, raspberry and strawberry. The attack of Petit Verdot is clearly different: astringency is evidently more intense with a well perceptible warm sensation of alcohol and a quite low crispness. Structure is evidently more robust than Pelaverga and in the mouth are perceived, clean and intense, flavors of black cherry, black currant and plum, sometimes blackberry as well. The tasting of Pelaverga and Petit Verdot makes differences between the two clearly evident: thin and immediate the former, more robust and fuller the latter.

 The last phase of our tasting by contrast is about the evaluation of the final sensations the wines leave in the mouth after swallowing. The finish of Colline Saluzzesi Pelaverga is characterized by a good persistence in which are clearly perceived flavors of cherry, raspberry and strawberry. In the mouth is also perceived a pleasing sensation of acidity covering almost completely both astringency and alcohol, as well as a spicy hint of white pepper. The finish of Perit Verdot is persistent and in the mouth are perceived flavors of black cherry, black currant and plum, to which frequently follow blackberry and the characteristic hint of black pepper. The sensation of structure is evidently fuller than Pelaverga and in the mouth is mainly perceived the astringency balanced by a pleasing roundness. Let's now evaluate both wines by taking two sips, Pelaverga first and then Petit Verdot: differences in taste and finish are evident, in particular flavors and the sensation of structure.

 



 Editorial  Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 166, October 2017   
Contrasts of Pelaverga and Petit VerdotContrasts of Pelaverga and Petit Verdot Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 165, September 2017 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on Twitter 

Wines of the Month


 

Farfalla Zero Dosage, Ballabio (Lombardy, Italy)
Farfalla Zero Dosage
Ballabio (Lombardy, Italy)
Pinot Nero
Price: € 20.00 Score:

Brilliant straw yellow and nuances of straw yellow, very transparent, fine and persistent perlage.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of apple, bread crust and hawthorn followed by aromas of tangerine, raspberry, grapefruit, hazelnut, honey, bergamot, yeast, pear and plum.
Crisp and effervescent attack, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Very persistent finish with long flavors of apple, grapefruit and raspberry.
Refermented in bottle and aged on its lees for at least 72 months.
Pasta with fish, Roasted white meat, Stewed fish with mushrooms



Montefalco Sagrantino Valdimaggio 2012, Arnaldo Caprai (Umbria, Italy)
Montefalco Sagrantino Valdimaggio 2012
Arnaldo Caprai (Umbria, Italy)
Sagrantino
Price: € 32.00 Score:

Intense ruby red and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of blackberry, black cherry and plum followed by aromas of dried violet, blueberry, iris, chocolate, vanilla, leather, tobacco, pink pepper, mace, cinnamon, nail polish, graphite and menthol.
Tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Very long finish with long flavors of blackberry, black cherry and plum.
24 months in barrique, 8 months in bottle.
Game, Stewed and braised meat, Roasted meat, Hard cheese



Montefalco Sagrantino 25 Anni 2013, Arnaldo Caprai (Umbria, Italy)
Montefalco Sagrantino 25 Anni 2013
Arnaldo Caprai (Umbria, Italy)
Sagrantino
Price: € 50.00 Score:

Deep ruby red and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of blackberry, black cherry and violet followed by aromas of plum, blueberry, pink pepper, vanilla, peony, tobacco, chocolate, leather, mace, licorice and menthol.
Tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Very persistent finish with long flavors of blackberry, plum and black cherry.
24 months in barrique, at least 8 months in bottle.
Game, Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese



Portofino Bianchetta Genovese  Pastine 2016, Bisson (Liguria, Italy)
Portofino Bianchetta Genovese Pastine 2016
Bisson (Liguria, Italy)
Bianchetta Genovese
Price: € 8.50 Score:   Good value wine

Intense straw yellow and nuances of straw yellow, very transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of apple, plum and pear followed by aromas of hawthorn, citrus fruits, rosemary, broom, medlar and almond.
Crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of apple, plum and medlar.
Aged in steel tanks.
Pasta with fish, Mushroom soups, Sauteed white meat, Stewed fish, Dairy products



Portofino imix Villa Fieschi 2011, Bisson (Liguria, Italy)
Portofino imixà Villa Fieschi 2011
Bisson (Liguria, Italy)
Scimiscià
Price: € 13.50 Score:

Intense straw yellow and nuances of straw yellow, very transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of apple, peach and bergamot followed by aromas of pear, medlar, grapefruit, anise, broom, rosemary and mineral.
Crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of apple, peach and rosemary.
8 months in steel tanks.
Stuffed pasta with mushrooms, Roasted white meat, Roasted fish, Vegetable soups



Romagna Albana Secco I Croppi 2016, Celli (Emilia Romagna, Italy)
Romagna Albana Secco I Croppi 2016
Celli (Emilia Romagna, Italy)
Albana
Price: € 8.00 Score:   Good value wine

Intense golden yellow and nuances of golden yellow, very transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of apple, plum and medlar followed by aromas of apricot, almond, ripe pear, hawthorn, honey and citrus fruits.
Crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of apple, plum and medlar.
Aged in steel tanks.
Stuffed pasta with mushrooms, Roasted white meat, Roasted fish, Vegetable soups



Romagna Sangiovese Riserva Bertinoro Bron \& Rusval 2013, Celli (Emilia Romagna, Italy)
Romagna Sangiovese Riserva Bertinoro Bron & Rusèval 2013
Celli (Emilia Romagna, Italy)
Sangiovese
Price: € 14.00 Score:

Intense ruby red and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of plum, black cherry and dried violet followed by aromas of blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, chocolate, tobacco, dried rose and vanilla.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of plum, black cherry and blackberry.
12 months in barrique, 24 months in bottle.
Broiled meat and barbecue, Roasted meat, Stewed meat with mushrooms, Hard cheese



Canneto 2013, D'Angelo (Basilicata, Italy)
Canneto 2013
D'Angelo (Basilicata, Italy)
Aglianico
Price: € 22.00 Score:

Brilliant ruby red and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of black cherry, blackberry and plum followed by aromas of violet, vanilla, tobacco, cinnamon, chocolate, mace and menthol.
Tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing crispness.
Persistent finish with flavors of black cherry, blackberry and plum.
8 months in barrique, 8 months in bottle.
Roasted meat, Broiled meat and barbecue, Stewed meat with mushrooms, Cheese



Aglianico del Vulture Riserva Vigna Caselle 2010, D'Angelo (Basilicata, Italy)
Aglianico del Vulture Riserva Vigna Caselle 2010
D'Angelo (Basilicata, Italy)
Aglianico
Price: € 27.00 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Intense ruby red and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of plum, black cherry and blackberry followed by aromas of dried violet, blueberry, tobacco, cocoa, leather, cinnamon, vanilla, licorice and menthol.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing crispness.
Persistent finish with flavors of plum, blackberry and black cherry.
24 months in cask.
Broiled meat and barbecue, Roasted meat, Stewed meat with mushrooms, Hard cheese






 Editorial  Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 166, October 2017   
Contrasts of Pelaverga and Petit VerdotContrasts of Pelaverga and Petit Verdot Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
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