There’s nothing cheesy about this Pecorino. The celebrated Italian wine grape may share a name with the hard sheep’s cheese — but that’s only because the woolly animals used to graze in the vineyards where it first grew. And Pecorino grapes have been growing for a long time. Despite only recently reaching a truly celebrated status, this understated, underrated grape has been cultivated in Italy for well over a century.
So why are you only just hearing about it now? Because, for all the varieties and vino to flow from this particular grape, we’ve never been really bowled over by a bottle. That is, until we uncorked the Umani Ronchi Centovie Pecorino 2018. We’ve now got a firm favourite in the Pecorino paddock, and a wine we’d confidently buy over any similarly balanced, big-name whites such as Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. Here’s why you should give it a go.
On the eyes: Corks on the table; it’s not the most inspiring of wines to look at. Decant a drop from its green glass bottle and the wine will still seem to have a certain viridescence to it. It looks a little like apple cider vinegar. Or lime cordial. Our point? Don’t judge it on looks alone.
On the nose: It’s an odd one on the nose, too. Take one whiff, and it’ll smell somewhat unassuming. But go back for a second and it could punch you in the nostrils; an unexpected burst of flavour swinging at you out of nowhere. On the whole, it’s got a perfectly pleasant aroma, giving off faint notes of citrus and stone fruits. There’s a rich base your sense of smell will reach for — but not fully appreciate through sniffing alone.
On the palate: Now we’re talking. Any ambiguity on the looks and aromas is promptly washed away when you take a sip — by a rich, flavourful wave of flavour, no less. There are echoes of berry-forward reds swirling in this Pecorino’s greenish depths, but it’s still delicate enough to be overpowered by rich food. For that reason, it’s a wine to savour solo; confident in its palatability and offering an intriguing miscellany of flavours enjoyed best alone.
On the finish: Again, on the finish, the Pecorino reverts back to being an unassuming, unobtrusive white. It disappears reasonably quickly off the palate — a decidedly French exit for a thoroughly Italian wine. Ending on a dry, slightly warming note, it forces a smile — getting you in your upper gums. But it needn’t try so hard; with that depth of flavour and a new sapid surprise in every sip, it’ll bring a smile to your face regardless.
Umani Ronchi Centovie Pecorino 2018
Looking for more wine picks? Check out this David Moret ‘Le Grand A’ Aligoté 2019…
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