I was prompted by an old article in the Telegraph to share a little background on Pignoletto, a variety we have championed for many years.
Pignoletto is a place and a white variety that is genetically identical to Grechetto, the name Pignoletto was used only around Pignoletto with the DOCs of Colli Bolognesi, Colli d’Imola, Colli di Rimini, Modena and Reno and a couple of IGPs; Emilia and Rubicone having the option to label their Grechetto as Pignoletto.
That all changed when a group of producers in Emilia Romagna concluded that the name ‘Pignoletto’ had legs. The reason is simple: it is a place and a grape type and the place bit can be legally protected (this avoids the woes of Prosecco) and the grape has history and quality on its side.
In order to work within the confines of the DOP system the name ‘Pignoletto’ will no longer be used as a grape variety and will be exclusively used for the region. Pignoletto (or Rébola) will now be assimilated into the better known Grechetto family and this is good because there is now one (a few more in reality) less synonym for Grechetto and instead we have a regional, protected wine which the producers of the area can get behind.
To clarify; Pignoletto is a tiny parish within Monteveglio which is within the Bologna district. The name has been registered and it is illegal for anyone outside the boundaries of the DOC to have Pignoletto on their label. So, where are the boundaries? The original parish of Pignoletto will now be called Pignoletto Classico, the boundaries are being pushed to include the ex-Colli Bolognesi and the subzones of Colli d’Imola, Modena, and Reno.
The wines must contain a minimum of eighty five percent Grechetto (a white variety) and can be still, sparkling or passito. There are no particular ageing requirements or production stipulations for the sparkling wine.
A final confession, perhaps Pignoletto is not genetically identical to Grechetto and in fact Grechetto is harbouring more than one variety under its name. I have been looking into this and will have a word with the walking encyclopaedia that is Ian D’Agata and with our friends in Umbria and Toscana who have plantings of Grechetto. Like all the best stories, I am sure this will run and run.