The 29 wine producers of the Consorzio Tutela Vini Oltrepò Pavese showcased their wines in Rome last 31 May 2022 in Beef Bazaar Restaurant at the second edition of the Talk ‘n’ Toast – Conversations on Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir). The wine event was opened with an interactive discussion by Filippo Bartolotta, a communicator of Italian wine for over twenty years, and Adua Villa, a digital narrator, sommelier and journalist. Together with the wine producers, they discussed the great capacity of expression of the Pinot Nero in Oltrepò Pavese and the challenges of promoting the territory in Italy and abroad.
“Oltrepò Pavese is the largest Pinot Nero vineyard in Italy, yet there is still too little talk about it,” began Filippo Bartolotta.“It is the island that is not there. Since last year, however, a group of producers has decided to join forces to recount their work, their territory to make their wines known: Pinot Nero Metodo Classico (the first ever produced in Italy was born here in 1865), and complex and elegant Pinot Nero red wines. It is time to unveil the way of this western strip of the Apennines to explore the Italian island of Pinot Nero that exists and is waiting to be discovered.”
“There are many consumers who love this grape variety, in its most important expressions,” underlined Adua Villa, “but they seem more reluctant to choose the Oltrepò Pinot Nero. However, in recent years, companies have begun to work not only on the quality of wines, but also on communication to stimulate interest and reveal more decisively the work they are carrying out. Today’s comparison shows how much commitment there is also on the part of the consortium in bringing together all the productive souls of the Oltrepò to march together along this path of promotion of the territory and its main grape variety.”
The Director of Consorzio Tutela Vini Oltrepò Pavese, Carlo Veronese underlined the importance of promoting the Oltrepò Pavese territory through a shared project,“because only if we all go in the same direction can goals be achieved ambitious. The fact that more and more companies are embracing this project shows that the path taken is the right one.”
It is interesting to know that 75% of the Pinot Nero vineyards in Italy is cultivated in Oltrepò. Admittedly, it is a lesser-known viticulture territory compared to the more popular zones of Italy. Oltrepò is located in the Lombardy northern region, just about 45 kilometers south of Milan, and nestled between Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna and Liguria. The territory has a triangular shape, or better yet, like a bunch of grapes and set across 440 kilometers of rolling hills, approximately 13,000 hectares of vineyards, 3,000 of which are planted with Pinot Noir. The area ranks as the third biggest producer of Pinot Nero after Burgundy and Champagne. Pinot Nero is widely cultivated in the area because it is used in the production of the area’s still and sparkling wines.
Being located at a latitude of 45° above the equator in the northern hemisphere, the conditions of growing the vines are optimal. The climate is well-suited for the growth of the Pinot Nero more than other varieties which tend to ripen too soon. Pinot Nero is harvested at its early stage when the skin ripeness has a good balance of acidity and sugar which are needed for the production of the sparkling wine. The soils of Oltrepò Pavese present a great variety but are mainly composed of sandstones, clay, sands and silty marls with veins of white chalk, giving the wines notes of sapidity while the climate is typical of the continental areas with cold winters and hot summers.
Historically, the Pinot Nero in this area is expressed excellently in two forms: vinification in red and the sparkling wine obtained from the classic method. The combination of the characteristics of the grape variety, the soil, the climate and the techniques of the producers, which are mostly family-run, make up the identity of the wines of Oltrepò Pavese. At present, with the guidance of the consortium, a group of producers has been looking at the future of the wines of the territory by investing in experimentation, sustainability and research. And precisely in this direction, some companies are introducing new lines based on Pinot Noir which are less demanding, with fresher and younger characteristics. It is a more contemporary style giving the wines approachability and increased international imprint while aiming to conquer the general public’s tastes without interfering with the standard of high quality of Oltrepò Pavese.
Following the talk was a walk-around tasting of the wines of the participating 29 producers with their versions of Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico DOCG and Oltrepò Pavese Pinot Nero DOC.
The wine producers present were:
Alessio Brandolini; Az. Agr. Torti L’Eleganza del Vino; Az. Agr. Pietro Torti; Az. Agr. Bio Quaquarini Francesco; Az. Agr. Cà del Gè ; Ballabio; Bertè & Cordini; Bosco Longhino; Bruno Verdi; Ca ‘Di Frara; Calatroni Vini; Cantine; Cavallotti; Castello di Cigognola; Conte Vistarino; Cordero San Giorgio; Finigeto; Frecciarossa; Giorgi; Giulio; Fiamberti; La Piotta; La Travaglina Az. Agr.; Lefiole; Manuelina; Monsupello; Montelio; Oltrenero; Rossetti & Scrivani; Tenuta Mazzolino; and Tenuta Travaglino.
Note: Some photos are provided by ZeddComm PR and credited to Matteo Lippera.