Tasted 18th August 2020
Tasted on a brief escape from Covid-19 to Piedmont in Italy. Verduno, which is the village that gives the wine its denominazione is better known for Barolo. However, pelaverga (or pelaverga piccolo to give it the correct name and distinguish it from the pelarverga grosso), is an old variety in Piedmont with an interesting geography. It is produced just in this village – and again on the hills near the beautiful town of Saluzzo, 40 kilometres to the west. This is one of the joys of Italy, with its myriad – often barely known – varieties with a very precise local or regional link.
The wine was recommended to me by a keen young sommelier in a restaurant in Verduno as the best local example – ‘the lightest’. He advised chilling it in a fridge as a white or pink wine. In another time, in France, it would have been called a clairet wine – not pink, but pale red – also known as clarete in Spain and chiaretto in Italy, and typically a red wine made for summer in an area with not so many white grapes.
It has a sweet red fruit nose but also with a very pronounced black pepper character, very much like an ultra-cool climate shiraz. It’s light weight, with fresh acidity and tannins which are just there. Sorry cherry/raspberry fruit and fair length. It hits the spot perfectly on a hot summer’s evening; fine on it’s own or with food. Why would anyone drink synthetic-orange aperol spritz when they could have this?