The Beautiful and Fertile Land of the Oltrepò Pavese
The Oltrepò Pavese area is a small extension of the Lombardy region deeply wedged between Piedmont and Emilia. Its territory is, in fact, the continuation of the pre-Apennine strip that stretches from the area of Monferrato to the hills of Piacenza. It is a magnificent hilly territory with gentle hills and valleys that follow a north-south orientation. The altitudes, between 200 and 600 metres above sea level, offer beautiful sunny exposures and a mild, always breezy climate. The soils are mainly made up of Eocene marls of a calcareous-clayey origin, but there are also important chalk veins and areas richer in clay. Overall, the soils are very suitable for viticulture and in particular for Pinot Noir grapes, which were brought to these lands for the first time in the mid-19th century with the first plantings in the Rocca de' Giorgi area. After the devastation caused by phylloxera, all the vineyards were renovated and alongside the native Croatina and Barbera grapes, mainly international varieties were planted: Pinot Noir primarily, followed by Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Riesling. The history of the Classic Method is more than a century old and today it is considered the jewel in the crown of the area's wines, and a true excellence on a national level.
The Varieties Used
There are three grape varieties authorised by the regulations for the production of Oltrepò Pavese DOCG Classic Method wines: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. This is a selection that is based on the experience of Champagne, although of the 7 grape varieties authorised in the world's most famous appellation, the regulations have chosen these 3 varieties which have been present in Lombardy for centuries and which produce high quality results. Pinot Grigio, however, is almost never used to make sparkling wine bases because it has a rather low acidity and is therefore more suitable for producing still wines. Chardonnay is used only sparingly, to add a touch of elegance to the blend. Pinot Noir, on the other hand, is the real protagonist and it is no coincidence that the Oltrepò is the area of Italy where this vine is most present. It has acclimatised very well to these lands and is cultivated both with the classic clones from Burgundy to produce interesting still wines, and with the clones traditionally planted in Champagne, which are particularly suitable for making sparkling wine bases. If we were to go further in the comparison with Champagne, we could liken this area to the Montagne de Reims, not so much for the similarities between the two Classic Methods, but for the territorial suitability in the composition of blends.
The Oltrepò Pavese Classic Method DOCG obtained the highest level in the classification of Italian denominations in 2007, thus becoming part of the elite of Italian winemaking heritage. As far as the production regulations are concerned, Oltrepò Pavese Classic Method and Rosé must contain a minimum percentage of 70% Pinot Noir grapes with a possible addition of Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio, while for Oltrepò Pavese Classic Method Pinot Noir and Rosé the minimum percentage rises to 85%. Indeed, almost all the wineries in the area tend to produce wines with Pinot Nero in purity, precisely to enhance the typical character of the area. The minimum period of refermentation in the bottle is 15 months and 24 months for the vintage wines. Even in this case, the familiarity with the grape variety and the realisation that it reaches full expressive maturity only after a long period of refinement on the lees, has led the most important producers in the area to extend the period of rest to 36 or 40 months before dégorgement and up to 50 or 60 months for the reserves. In this way, the wine acquires an aromatic complexity and a taste persistence that contribute to making it a great Classic Method. In the glass it is golden yellow in colour with a fine and very persistent perlage. The bouquet expresses intense and rich aromas, with notes of dried fruit, hints of bread crust and aromas of small red berries. On the palate it is full-bodied, with sophisticated flavours and a taut, long and dynamic taste, which leads to a dry and very fresh finish.
Due to its particular characteristics, the Oltrepò Pavese is a Classic Method that is particularly suited to gastronomic pairings. Its important structure makes it ideal to be enjoyed throughout a meal, with a wide range of dishes. It goes very well with seafood dishes, in particular with oven-baked or foil-baked fish or with seafood risotto or pasta. It is also excellent with delicately flavoured white meats. The Rosé version, with its richer and more intense aromas, is excellent with seafood guazzetti and roast veal. Buy the best Oltrepò Pavese Classic Method wines on the Callmewine store. Discover one of the historical delicacies of Lombardy and a great Italian sparkling wine made with Pinot Noir grapes. Callmewine has selected the best bottles of Oltrepò Pavese Classic Method wine at extremely special prices.