Pecorino is a white wine grape variety that is primarily grown in central Italy. Here is a detailed description covering its history, origin, cultivation regions, characteristics, and the wine it produces:

History of Origin:

The exact origins of the Pecorino grape are a bit unclear and subject to debate. However, it is generally believed to be native to the Marche region of central Italy. Historically, the grape was almost extinct, but a revival effort in the late 20th century has led to increased plantings and recognition.

Region of Origin:

Pecorino is predominantly associated with the Marche region, particularly in the provinces of Ascoli Piceno, Teramo, and Macerata. It is also found in the neighboring region of Abruzzo.

Origin of Name:

The name “Pecorino” is believed to be derived from the Italian word “pecora,” meaning sheep. Some theories suggest that the grape got its name because sheep (pecore) used to graze on the vineyards, indicating the grape’s connection to the land.

Cultivation Regions:

Apart from its native regions, Pecorino has spread to other parts of Italy, including Abruzzo, Umbria, and Lazio. It has also gained some international recognition, with plantings in countries like Australia and the United States.

Characteristics of the Variety:

  • Viticulture: Pecorino vines are vigorous and resistant to various diseases, making them well-suited for cultivation.
  • Climate and Soil: The grape thrives in a Mediterranean climate and is adaptable to various soil types. However, it generally performs best in well-drained soils.
  • Clusters and Berries: Pecorino grapes typically have medium-sized, compact clusters with small, round berries. The thin skin of the berries contributes to the wine’s aromatic profile.

Characteristics of the Wine:

  • Appearance: Pecorino wines are known for their pale straw to golden yellow color, often with greenish highlights.
  • Aroma: The wines are aromatic, displaying a complex bouquet that includes floral notes (such as acacia and chamomile), citrus (lemon and grapefruit), and sometimes hints of tropical fruits.
  • Flavor Profile: Pecorino wines are characterized by a crisp acidity and a mineral backbone. The palate may feature flavors of green apple, pear, peach, and herbal notes. Some wines may also exhibit a saline quality.
  • Alcohol Content: Pecorino wines typically have moderate to high alcohol content, contributing to their full-bodied nature.
  • Ageing Potential: While Pecorino wines are enjoyable when young, certain expressions of the grape have shown the potential to age gracefully, developing more complex aromas and flavors over time.

In recent years, Pecorino has gained popularity among wine enthusiasts for its distinct characteristics and ability to produce high-quality, expressive wines. The revival of this indigenous grape has contributed to the diversity of Italy’s viticultural landscape.

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