Recently some of the girls and I went out to dinner at San Francisco’s Perbacco Ristorante. Not only is the food there absolutely incredible, but the Italian wines on their list are quite impressive as well. One of the bottles that we decided to go with was from the Pallagrello Nero grape varietal. Dating back to before the Roman Empire, this grape is primarily cultivated in the province of Caserta in Campania, Italy. Although Pallagrello Nero is still seldom heard of, producers are starting to focus a bit more on these elegant wines that show some aging potential. Here’s what I thought about the one that we drank that night.
Castello Ducale – 2009 Pallagrello Nero – Terre del Volturno IGT
Flabbergasted is a word that I would use to describe my initial reaction to this wine. While having a beautiful ruby color, this wine exuded burly aromas of wet paper towels, dust, and plastic. Thrown off by these, I decided to give the wine a fair chance on the palate. Let’s just say I’m glad that I did. Although this wine is a little rough around the edges with its rustic and barnyard characteristics, there is lavish red cherry and raspberry fruit that perfectly match the fragrant violets. And it doesn’t end there. The real back bone of this wine is in its notes of red meat, black pepper, savory spice, volcanic minerality, and a velvety vanilla finish. With its medium body, suave tannins, and zesty acidity, this wine drinks well now and I think it could be even better in another couple of years. This is a perfect example of why I love indigenous grapes, there’s so much to unravel!