Prosecco and Pinot Grigio have been among our guests’ favourites for a long time. But terrible widespread frosts in Spring 2017 led to the smallest grape harvest in northern Italy since the Second World War. So they will both be scarcer and more expensive this year.
Which makes it the perfect moment to branch out and try some of Italy’s many other delicious whites. Our Wine of the Month for February is a Pecorino from Abruzzo, close to Rome. Pecorino is perhaps more famous for its hard sheeps’ milk cheese, which is whisked into a sauce with black pepper to make Rome’s iconic pasta dish “Cacio e Pepe”. I first ate it in a little place called Ditirambo, near the Trevi Fountain, where two ladies with powerful forearms hand-rolled the short fat spaghetti called “bici” that go best with this sauce. Now the craze for Cacio e Pepe has reached London and New York, where it is replacing Mac n’ Cheese as a comfort dish. I had it in a hip pizzeria in Bristol only last week, though the pasta wasn’t as good as those Roman ladies made.
Pecorino, the wine, is light and bright, with a fresh aroma of citrus and peach and something nutty besides. Dry and delicious, it is light enough to drink on its own but with enough body to go very well with cold meats, croquettes or chicken dishes. And, of course, with cheese.
Our Caparrone Pecorino from Rocco Pasetti has been singled out by Victoria Moore in the Telegraph as one of her Wines of the Week and by Decanter magazine in December as one of its most interesting “must buys” – so it’s a natural choice as Wine of the Month in February. When you’re next in the pub, ask any of our team and they’ll be happy to pour you a glass.