Pecorino: Exploring Italy’s Lesser-Known Wine Marvel

The Pecorino grape, a hidden gem in the vast world of wine, is like a secret waiting to be discovered by wine lovers. Often overshadowed by more famous varieties, Pecorino is a white grape variety that deserves a spotlight for its unique characteristics and delightful flavors.

A Brief History

The story of Pecorino is one of near extinction and revival. Originating from Italy, specifically from the Marche and Abruzzo regions, Pecorino was once a rare sight. By the 20th century, it had almost vanished, overshadowed by grapes that were easier to grow and yielded more. Thankfully, in the 1980s, a local effort in Italy breathed new life into Pecorino, bringing it back from the brink. Today, it’s a rising star in the wine world, though still relatively under the radar.


Pecorino grapes are notable for their high sugar content and a surprisingly good acidity level, which is a bit of a rarity. This combination allows the grape to produce wines that are both rich and refreshing. The grape bunches are small and yield is typically low, which often translates to higher quality but less quantity – a trade-off that many wine enthusiasts are happy to make.

Flavour Profile

The flavor profile of Pecorino wines is not only distinctive and appealing but also enchantingly diverse. These wines are renowned for their bright, fresh character, which is beautifully balanced between a zesty acidity and a subtle richness. On the nose, they often exude enticing floral aromas that lead into a palate brimming with hints of citrus – think lemon zest and grapefruit – and crisp green apples, creating a refreshing and invigorating taste experience. There’s also a delightful minerality that weaves through the flavor profile, reminiscent of wet stones or a cool, gentle breeze by the seaside. And for those with a keen sense of taste, a subtle almond note lurks in the background, adding an intriguing layer of complexity. This nuanced combination of flavors makes Pecorino wines not only a joy to drink but also a fascinating subject for wine enthusiasts to explore.

Different Styles of Wines

Pecorino wines mainly come in a still, dry white wine style. However, there is some variation within this. You’ll find lighter versions that are crisp and easy-drinking, perfect for a summer day. Then there are the more structured types, often aged in oak, which present a fuller body and greater complexity. The latter style is particularly exciting for those who love to explore the depths of a wine’s character.

Wine Making and Maturation Options

Winemakers have a few tricks up their sleeves when it comes to crafting Pecorino wines. Fermentation typically occurs in stainless steel tanks, which helps preserve the grape’s natural freshness and fruitiness. However, for those fuller-bodied versions, oak aging is employed, imparting additional flavors like vanilla and toast. This oak treatment also adds to the wine’s aging potential, allowing it to develop more complex flavors over time.

Important Regions

The heartland of Pecorino is in Italy’s Marche and Abruzzo regions. In Marche, look for bottles from the Offida DOCG, while in Abruzzo, the Terre Tollesi or Tullum DOCG is where you’ll find some exceptional examples. These regions’ terroirs, with their unique climate and soil compositions, play a crucial role in giving Pecorino wines their distinct characteristics.

Food Pairing Suggestions

Pecorino wines are incredibly versatile when it comes to food pairing. Their bright acidity and freshness make them a perfect match for seafood dishes, especially shellfish. Think grilled shrimp or a classic seafood risotto. They also pair wonderfully with light pasta dishes, fresh salads, and can elegantly cut through the richness of creamy cheeses. For a regional pairing, try it with Olive all’ascolana – fried olives stuffed with meat, a specialty from the Marche region.

Pecorino is a variety that offers something for every white wine enthusiast. Whether you’re a fan of crisp, refreshing wines or prefer something with a bit more body and complexity, Pecorino has a style to suit your palate. Its rich history and revival story add an extra layer of intrigue to every glass. So next time you’re exploring the wine aisle, keep an eye out for this Italian treasure.

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Written by

Bernard Marr has a deep passion for wine. He has written hundreds of articles on wine, including features for Forbes, covering wine-making and industry trends. Away from the world of wine, Bernard is a world-renown business and technology futurist. He is the award winning author of over 20 best-selling books and has a combined audience of nearly 4 million people across his social media channels and newsletters.

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