Piemonte: Pelaverga DOC and White Pepper

Living in Bra, Italy in the Piemonte region provides access to many small, surrounding Italian villages. Each one boasts a fine, regional wine: Barbera d’Asti, Grignolino, Barolo and Barbaresco to name a few. One fine, sunny Sunday, some friends and I found ourselves in Verduno, the land of Pelaverga Rosso DOC. This is a fairly new addition to the wine legends of the area, with DOC appellation since 1995. The wine is only produced in the small surrounding countryside of this outlier community of Alba, located in the same region as Barolo. The name may mean something like “vine peeler” after the process of harvesting; pela from the Italian word “to peel” and verga as in “branch.” Although the wine has achieved more prominence lately, it has been around since the 15th century, when it was mostly blended in other wines or was a simple table wine.

We asked the barista at a local wine bar if we could try a bit of the wine, and he lent us wine glasses to enjoy the bottle in a nearby park that overlooks Piemonte. The table and lookout were made specifically for wine tasters.

This medium-bodied wine has an herbal scent with undertones of fruit, and a pleasant and balanced flavor with a light acidity. At first, violet and red fruit notes are prominent; then, the signature white pepper spiciness pinches your tongue. This distinct aroma and taste of white pepper is incredibly pronounced so that it seems someone sprinkled a bit into the bottle. We were told that it comes from the soil and terroir of this very specific area in Piemonte. The wine finishes with clean, fresh, peppery notes topped with ripe, red raspberry.

touring information:

Vineyard Adventures is happy to arrange tours to discover Piemonte’s Pelaverga DOC.

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Pelaverga – Verduno, Piedmont, Italy. Fringe Wine. June 2011.


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