Is the luck of the Pinerolese changing?

Is the luck of the Pinerolese changing?


Pinerolese is my kind of backwater, a small region that falls inside the provinces of Cuneo and Torino, it has a wonderfully eventful history, sits at high-altitude, and has Monviso as a backdrop. 

This is just a blog, but I think the Pinerolese DOC may have been dealt the hardest of hands.  Until recently their two most interesting grapes, Nebbiolo and Malvasia Moscata, were overlooked by the local disciplinare (Pinerolese DOC) and neither grape could be named on the bottle.

The Pinerolese area lies outside of the uber-fashionable (not here in the UK...) Alta Langa DOCG. Pinerolese meets the minimum altitude required and has old Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vineyards, which is not that surprising given their proximity to France, it is just in the wrong place.

So, the 2021 Nebbiolo can not mention the fact that it is Nebbiolo and the 2022 Malvasia Moscata must be bottled as Vino Bianco. 

BUT, this is about to change. In February 2024 both Nebbiolo and Malvasia Moscata were written into the Pinerolese disciplinare. Still nothing for their sparkling wines, but it is a great development.

Cold Facts

Pinerolese DOC was established in 1996 and overhauled in 2024.  It covers just 47ha and the total production is just over 8000 cases.

The white wines can be:

  • Bian Ver (Verdesse), this is an interesting grape that pops up in the Roero too, we have one earmarked.
  • Malvasia di Candia or/and Malvasia Moscata

Pink wines must have:

  • at least 50% Barbera, Bonarda, Chatus, or/and Nebbiolo.

Red wines can be:

  • The straight 'Rosso' must have a minimum of 50% Barbera, Bonarda, Chatus, or/and Nebbiolo.
  • Barbera
  • Bonarda
  • Dolcetto
  • Doux d’Henry, not a variety I know much about, it sounds French but apparently is not.  It seems to only be found in Pinerolo, a total of 9ha are registered in Italy.
  • Freisa
  • Nebbiolo, must be grown within the elevations of 350-650m (province of Torino), 300-550m (province of Cuneo)
  • Ramie, a historical, geographical wine that must be made from at least 60% Avanà, Avarengo, Becuet or/and Chatus.  Up to a generous 40% of other authorised grapes.
  • Superiore, must be made from Barbera to be Pinerolese Superiore.

If you are wondering what these varieties are, and what they taste like, you are in very good company!  There were 20,000+ wines to taste at Vinitaly this year and I could not find anybody who had brought along a wine from either Doux d’Henry or Ramie DOCs.

There are some excellent winemakers in the Pinerolese - Le Marie are probably the best. I am pleased to say that soon, 2 of their best, and most expensive wines will be allowed to say what they actually are on the label.

Do try the Le Marie Discovery case, it is epic!

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