Oltrepò Pavese Wine: The Italian Red Wine of Lombardy rediscovers Pinot Noir

Oltrepò Pavese is an Italian wine that has been produced in the Lombardy region of Italy since the 6th century. Learn about its ancient history, the importance of Pinot Noir, the production process and the different types of Oltrepò Pavese wines.

By Filippo Bartolotta
Oct 10, 2021
tagAlt.Oltrepò Pavese Sparkling Wine bottles

Wine from the Oltrepò Pavese hills: The new region in Italian wine quality

What do we discuss in this article?

  • Italian Classic Method: Why in Oltrepò?
  • Oltrepò pavese wine region: An extraordinary territory
  • Oltrepò and Pinot Noir
  • The I edition of "Oltrepò, land of Pinot Noir. A territory, a vine, two excellences.
  • Oltrepò and its hills
  • Producers Of Oltrepò Pavese wine

 

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Oltrepò Pavese Sparkling wine: On the Wine Map of Great Italian Classic Method wines

Oltrepò Pavese is on the wine map of the great Italian Metodo Classico sparkling wines toghether with Trentodoc, Franciacorta and Alta Langa in the Olympus of Italian bubbles

It is the first Italian Metodo Classico and was created in Oltrepò thanks to Count Vistarino who formed an alliance with Piedmontese entrepreneur Carlo Gancia.

We are in the middle of the 1800's and the Count was shuttling back and forth to France in order to bring home Pinot Noir grapes.

At the same time Marquis Incisa della Rocchetta ( Yes! the one of Sassicaia!), in 1848 began his first experiments of Pinot Noir vinified in red in his estate of Rocchetta Tanavo, a few kilometers from Oltrepò. 

 

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Why is the Oltrepò Pavese Wine Region so extraordinary?

The Oltrepò pavese is an extraordinary territory. A three day hike will take you to Portofino with the Via del Sale crossing Piedmont and with other three days, passing from the east area to Pontremoli through the beautiful Via degli Abati, you can reach Tuscany.

Irish Benedictine monk Columban, after travelling through Europe, reached the area of Oltreò in 614. The monk, after having spent 20 years in Bourgogne (as everyone knows, homeland of Pinot Noir) with his "team" of wine making monks, dedicated himself to writing and enology in the monastery of Bobbio. 

 

When did they start cultivating Pinot Noir in Oltrepò Pavese?

At the time Pinot Noir was not yet mentioned in agricotural practices. We will have to wait until the fourteenth century to see this grape written with this name and until the eighteenth century to see Pinot as we know it today. 

 

Some anecdotes about Oltrepò Pavese wines

  • Champagne Montelio (the sparkling wine was called that back then) is used to launch the ship Vesuvio in 1894 in Naples.
  • Frecciarossa winery, founded by Mario Odero in 1919, produced one of the first Italian wines exported to America.
  • Hitchcock, after drinking a wine from Oltrepò, thanked the winery with a letter because it was his first Italian wine. 
  • The Oltrepò, considered for years the biggest Italian vineyard, exported grapes and barrels of Pinot Noir, acting as a reservoir for many Italian companies. 
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The I edition of "Oltrepò, land of Pinot Noir. A territory, a vine, two excellences”

With the first edition of "Oltrepò, land of Pinot Noir. A territory, a vine, two excellences"" promoted by the Consortium for the safeguarding of Oltrepò wines, 20 producers of Oltrepò started launching a message of rebirth, reappropriating a very important historical heritage and finding the courage to show everyone their undisputed value. 

Pinot Noir vinified in red is finding its stylistic dimension: apart from a small group of historical wineries which have been producing Pinot Noir since the 1980s there is still a lot to do.

Agronomist Pierluigi Donna, who has been in the area for 40 years, has great confidence: "I came here in 1982 and since then the attention paid to quality, environmental sustainability, biodiversity and the ability of the winemakers has grown a lot and each winery seems to have a full awareness of its resources".

 

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What type of soils can you find in the Oltrepò Pavese hills and vineyards?

The hills are made of clayey and sandy marls with veins of white chalk which gives sapid notes to the wines produced here.

The valleys run from South to North creating amphitheatres interspersed by vineyards that alternate like the wings of a Chinese theater; a spectacular landscape that fills the eyes and the heart with beauty. The people are welcoming, the food is great and the wine is not lacking! 

 

Who are the Twenty producers of Oltrepò Pavese wine that participated in the First Edition of "Oltrepò, land of Pinot Noir"?

Bravo to the 20 producers of Oltrepò Pavese wine that took part in the first edition of "Oltrepò, land of Pinot Noir. A territory, a vine, two excellences”. Hopefully soon to become 40! 

 

Alessio Branndolini

A family-run Oltrepò Pavese winery producing a variety of wines, including Oltrepò Pavese sparkling wines and Pinot Noir Wine

 

Calatroni

Am Oltrepò Pavese winery which produces labels coming from cuvées of five vineyards facing north and northwest at different altitudes (from 200 to 540 meters asl) with a diversification of the soil texture from clayey to calcareous as the altitude increases. 

 

Quaquarini Francesco

The Quaquarini family has been involved in Oltrepò Pavese wine production for three generations. Today the winery is run by Francesco and his sons Umberto and Maria Teresa. A family business which produces high level wines of the local tradition 

 

Ballabio

The Ballabio winery was founded in 1905 by Angelo Ballabio and his dream: to create his own classic bottled fermented sparkling wine, from only Pinot Noir grapes. A wine capable of competing with the best Champagnes of the time.

 

Bruno Verdi

A family that can trace its viticultural origins back seven generations to the 18th century, when Antonio Verdi came from Parma to settle in the Oltrepò Pavese wine region.

 

Castello di Cignognola

A castle steeped in centuries of history in Oltrepò Pavese, Cigognola is still dedicated to the production of quality wines.

 

Conti Vistarino

In 1850, Count Augusto Giorgi di Vistarino was the first person to plant Pinot Noir in the Oltrepò, by importing the shoots directly from France. Today the range of Conte Vistarino's wines, besides Pinot Noir, is completed by red wines, white wines, rose wines, charmat method, classic method and sweet wines.

 

Cordero San Giorgio

The Tenuta San Giorgio grows the most suitable varieties for this territory: Pinot Grigio, Croatina, Barbera, Chardonnay and of course Pinot Nero, the undisputed ruler of Oltrepò.

 

Frecciarossa

Frecciarossa was founded in 1919, when Mario Odero fell in love with the hills of Oltrepò Pavese, he who until that moment traded coal between his city of origin, Genoa, and England, where he lived. Today the company is engaged in quality productions. 

 

Fiamberti

The Fiamberti farm in Canneto Pavese is one of the oldest companies in the Oltrepò Pavese and in the whole of Lombardy.In 2014 it celebrated 200 years since its foundation. 

 

Giorgi

Giorgi's wines are the expression of the quality of a territory and they trace its typicality.

 

Padroggi La Piotta

"La Piotta" was established in 1985 by grandfather Luigi, following the footsteps of Padroggi's family which had been involved in wine making for generations. The average age of the present vineyards is about 30 years old and this allows the production of white wines with intense and persistent aromas as well as full bodied and well structured red wines.

 

La Travaglina

La Travaglina The winery was established in the 1960's in the homonymous farm from which it took its name. It is located in the heart of Oltrepò Pavese hills and it is particularly famous for the production of sparkling Bonarda and quality classic method sparkling wines.

 

La Versa

In more than one hundred years of production, La Versa has remained faithful to the original idea of its founder, Cesare Gustavo Faravelli, who on May 21, 1905 decided, together with the first twenty-two partners, to produce wines capable of expressing at their best the characteristics of the best grapes of his homeland.

 

Manuelina

The history of Manuelina winery began in the first half of the 1900's with Luigi Achilli and his brother Guido. Since then the company has come a long way. A great passion transmitted to their sons Paolo and Antonio, who have contributed to transform the company into the reality it is today.

 

Monsupello

Monsupello è stata fondata oltre un secolo fa, nel lontano 1893. Fondata dalla famiglia Boatti sulle colline dell’Oltrepò Pavese, nel comune di Oliva Gessi, l'azienda oggi è dedicata a produzioni di qualità.

 

Montelio

Montelio estate is located on the sweet hills of Western Oltrepò. In the thirteenth century the lands and the buildings were the grange of a Benedictine monastery, bought in 1803 by the ancestors of the current owners.

 

Scuropasso

La Cantina Scuropasso nasce nel 1962 a Pietra de' Giorgi in Oltrepò Pavese. L'amore per il territorio, il rispetto per l'ambiente e la ricerca costante della massima qualità si esprimono attraverso il Roccapietra, Metodo Classico da pinot nero della Valle Scuropasso.

 

Tenuta Mazzolino

Tenuta Mazzolino is located in the heart of the Oltrepò Pavese controlled designation of origin area, on the right bank of the Po river, in the hilly area close to the Apennines, along the 45th parallel. Here the Braggiotti family has been dedicating for generations to the cultivation of the vine.

 

Travaglino

Travaglino cultivates 80 hectares of vineyards in the central-western part of Oltrepò Pavese, in Calvignano, on the slopes of Mount Cérésino. A hilly area of uncontaminated beauty, characterized by clayey-calcareous soils resting on marls and sandstones, rich in microelements, suitable for centuries for the cultivation of vines.

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