Wine Dharma

Grignolino: grape variety, history and organoleptic characteristics of the most brazen wine of Piedmont

Grignolino: grape variety, history and organoleptic characteristics of the most Grignolino is a bit like the heroes of Watchman: they are out of the glamor circle, they are not dapper and stylish like Superman, they are not ruthless, perfect and barrel-aged like Batman, they are not funny like Deadpool, but in the end, they exude humanity from every pore. And they are irresistible and you love them and you love them because they are authentic and have integrity and edges.

With Grignolino wine happens the same thing: once upon a time, it was the Piedmontese wine par excellence, the mythical super drinkable claret. A rustic wine made only with fermented grape juice and nothing more.

How is today Grignolino? It a wine with a light color, amazing acidity and fearful tannins, a super juicy wine, but very difficult to tame. The immense presence of seeds makes it hard to be vinified, with all that tannic potential that could explode, but which is actually enclosed in a delicate and diaphanous soul. To all this add also that it prefers light soils, the areas with better and sunny exposures, it takes a long time to mature and it is often harvested in late October. In short, it is a rebellious, cheeky wine, one with which it is not easy to get along.

This is Grignolino’s problem, the paradox of his being in constant contrast, this constant tension. Finding a balance is an arduous undertaking: you need an expert hand, a lot of experience and the desire to make great wines. The potential is all there, the pungent aromas, the subtle charm, the freshness that cut your palate with boldness. The personality, the thickness of the tannic texture that makes the wine turgid and structured, despite having a harmless, lovely color.

Where does the name Grignolino come from?

The characteristic name derives from “grignole”, the dialectal name of the grape seeds, which are excessively present in the grapes of the bunch. Much more suggestive (but less probable) the theory according to which the name derives from the verb grigné, to grind your teeth: the wine is so acid and tannic that it makes you grind your teeth…

Organoleptic characteristics of Grignolino

The bouquet is elegant and fine, dominated by berries, elderberry, flowers and splendid notes of white pepper. He is not mature or domineering, but gentle and intriguing.

What does Grignolino taste like?

On the palate, it is pyrotechnic, histrionic and razor-sharp when young, but over the years it tends to show evolved traits, a colorful development of tannins, which take on earthy flavors (licorice). If you want a stormy wine, choose ready-to-drink bottles, but if you find more structured wines, put them in the cellar and let them be rest for 5-10-15 years: the result will be splendid.

Production areas of Grignolino

Its homeland, as well as where it was first spotted, is the hilly strip between Casale Monferrato and Asti.

Our dispassionate advice is to taste Grignolino, look for it, love it! It is not a wine, it is a piece of history and one day it will be a great wine again. The potential is here: elegance, personality, bravado, it just needs someone who can hear the story it has to tell.

The best food pairings for Grignolino

The tannins are there, anyway it is not a steak wine, but it is excellent with white meats, duck, non-spicy Indian dishes, fatty fish such as turbot, pasta with pesto and many dishes of Piedmontese cuisine, where acidity is needed to cleanse the palate. Recommended dishes: Vitello Tonnato, fried chicken, spaghetti with clams, pumpkin tortelli with sage and butter, rice noodles with prawns and vegetables, parmesan herb ravioli, truffle risotto, spaghetti carbonara, tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms.

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