Malcolm Jolley enjoys a white wine from the middle of Italy.
The pecorino grape confusingly shares its name with a broad category of Italian cheese. Both get their names from the Italian word for sheep, pecora. In the case of the latter they’re the source of the milk used to make it. In the case of the former, it’s said that if a careless shepherd let his flock into the vineyards, sheep favour nibbling on the pecorino grape over others. By any name, wines made from the pecorino grape, in the eastern middle of Italy, have a reputation of crisp, firm and full of that elusive descriptor, minerality, and the 2014 Tenuta Ulisse Unico Pecorino has all of that and a big burst of stone fruit too. At $19.95 (LCBO# 249128) it offers good value for a wine that recently won a gold medal at the Mundus Vini awards in Germany and a taste of the good wine revolution happening in Abruzzo. I’d serve it at the beginning of the evening with antipasti, like crostini, prociutto, cheese (pecorino?) or olives – something with a hit of salt. Or, it could be the star of pasta or fish lunch.