Italian Pinot Nero

A wine of unique terroir


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Italian Pinot Nero
As you might have guessed, I love Italian wine. Pinot Nero might be tough to define as Italian wine, but it has a century long history in Italy and offers an alternative style to the myriad other styles of Pinot produced around the world.

So what makes Pinot Nero Italian? The terroir of course. Almost all of the wines I tried during this tasting hailed from the Alto Adige, that northern-most province of Italy's center that is blessed with gorgeous mountain valleys fit for vines from floor to hilltop. Pinot expresses something unique in this region because of those hillside vineyards and the climate, which often calls for a sweater at 600 meters even in the heart of summer.  

Though it can be cool at night, daytime temperatures in an Alto Adige summer are plenty warm. This shift in temperatures, known as a diurnal shift, allows for the full ripening of the fruit without the development of any jammy flavors. In fact, one of the issues many people have with Alto Adige Pinot Neros is that lack of fruit, which even I can see as a fault sometimes. When Pinot Nero lacks the requisite fruit flavors, the wines tend towards pronounced forest floor and earthy flavors, but when producers capture the fruit, there is a clarity and brilliance to it that very few other Pinot Noirs can compete with.

Find out who captured that fruit!

Photo courtesy Achernar via Flickr/CC

Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: nikolaki
    558588 0

    have you tried the Vicolo?

    Nov 29, 2011 at 1:39 PM

  • The only Pinot Nero that I could find from the LCBO search in Ontario

    VINTAGES 248054 | 500 mL bottle

    Price: $ 99.95
    Spirits, Eau-de-Vie, Grappa
    40.0% Alcohol/Vol.

    Made in: , Italy
    By: Mazzetti D'Altavilla

    Release Date: Oct 29, 2011

    A great single-variety Grappa from a premium producer. ?The bottle contains a delicate glass sailing vessel and rests on a wooden pendulum 'spillatore' or pouring apparatus. A unique attention-grabbing gift.

    Nov 29, 2011 at 4:49 PM

  • Did some more searching and found this bottle from Puglia. Also some inexpensive pinot nero from Sicily. Is this the same as the Alta Adige style?

    VINTAGES 583435 | 750 mL bottle

    Price: $ 15.95
    Wine, Red Wine
    13.0% Alcohol/Vol.

    Sugar Content : XD

    Made in: Puglia, Italy
    By: Azienda Vinicola Rivera Spa

    Release Date: Sep 17, 2011

    Tasting Note
    I tasted this as a vat sample at the winery in February 2011. Made 100% from the nero di Troia variety, it delivers full flavours of bright fruit that show very good complexity, a tangy texture from the fruit-acid balance, and a firm but manageable tannic grip. Overall, it's well-made, good value, and a successful partner for rich pasta dishes. Score - 4 Stars (out of 5). (Rod Phillips,, March 3, 2011)

    Nov 29, 2011 at 5:11 PM

  • Snooth User: hugh27
    Hand of Snooth
    253137 65

    If you really want to find something unique in Italian (or others) wines look for the Gratina Grape- this is a cousin of the Merlot and has been authenticated by the University of Pisa as a true Vinifera varietal. At this point there are only 6000 vines in existence and it is produced under the Brand name "Siro" by the Fattorio di Gratina in southern Tuscany- Loads of red fruit and big structure with long lasting taste showing Licorice chocolate and plums- Grown in perfect soils,- stony clay that permit deep root penetration to pick up the bedrock flavours- and is certified organic- due to the unique natural quality of these vines they may be pre phyloxxera- this has got to be the rarest of the rare

    Nov 30, 2011 at 10:24 AM

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    Sep 23, 2018 at 1:23 AM

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