Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love!
To her name is associated the greek word Aphrodisiac.
In the modern age, the word aphrodisiac is largely used to describe anything, drinks or foods, producing sexual satisfaction. There is scientific evidence that some substances produce endorphin in our brain acting as a natural antidepressant and trigger of libido.
How many of us, for a romantic dinner, did not attempt to give our souls over to Afrodite and prepare delicious food, with the hope to give a “spicy” turn to our night?!
We thought: “scientifically proven or not, why not to give a try?”
Who doen’t know the list of these aphrodisiac foods? Oysters, strawberries, chocolate, pepper etc…
Well, if so, we should add to the list the wine from Piedmont “Pelaverga di Verduno”.
Wine whose virtues were known since King Carlo Alberto I discovered it.
He was used to cheer up his nights at court with this wine defined “Rare” at the time.
Pelaverga is a very old grape.
In the past this grape was planted together with the Barbera and Nebbiolo.
One of the characteristic features of this wine is a pronounced note of white pepper, very persistent.
It is this note which make this wine rare and famous for stimulating some “appetites”.
To learn more about this wine, that touched my nose and my heart, I decide to visit one of the most historic vineyard of Verduno, where the Pelaverga is decido di visitare una delle cantine storiche di Verduno.
The mother greets me at the door. She is a beautiful woman in her 60s, very kind. She did bring me in this room fool of story.
Hanging in the room there are beautiful paintings of the entrance of the property, remained almost intact over the centuries.
There is a painting of the great-great-grandfather, the founding father of this property. On the left side there is a library. There are only few books but plenty storical bottles of Barbera and Barolo covered with the dust of the time.
I do not see paintings with international awards or scores, something that you usually see in many wineries that show them with the illusion to convince everyone to buy their wine only because of that.
The only plaque that i can see is an old sign with the prices of the tastings. That must be very old because the prices are in cents.
While i dabble in reading the history through the memories, Fabio (the son and wine maker) meet me in the room, but before he starts his beautiful story of his family, he goes back to the cellar to take a bottle of Pelaverga.
In his view, the Pelaverga is a wine that must be drunk fresh, this is the reason why he take the bottle back as soon as he poor me a glass of it.
I couldn’t agree more!!!!!
Before he starts, i am a tad overwhelmed from this exotic scent mix of East, and i let it take me away for a while.
Pepper, intense white pepper, massive, and more i swirl my glass, more this scent expands more arounds me like a warm note from home.
At the first sip, a great freshness dabble my palate but a second later, i really feel… like that spicy note come back to warm me up again.
I recover me from this state of ecstasy and i start listening Fabio and the story of his family.
His great-great-granfather was not a simple farmer, he was a forward-looking man, a man from another time.
He received this property in inherits from his uncle. At that time it was a proper farm with different crops planted in it.
His vision take him to understand the the real fortune of that land was the wine.
This is the reason why he decide to keep only the vineyard planted.
At that time the grape Pelaverga was a grape used blended with other grapes, but not for him.
He loved it, maybe for its freshness, maybe for his spicy scent, maybe, like king Carlo, he knew the properties of this wine. We do not know the real reason but he loved this wine and he continued to produced it on his own. 100% Pelaverga.
The Pelaverga danger of faces extinction, but in the 70’ something changed…. other producers started to understand the rarity of this grape and they re-planted it.
Since than, this is a vine in continuous growth.
In 1995 the town of Verduno establish the Pelaverga di Verduno DOC.
Currently there are planted 18 hectares in total among all producers.
To Fabio and his family there is nothing left but follow his great-great-grandfather footsteps. The footsteps of a man with a vision any further than his nose, any further than his times, any further than a grape to use for blends.
At this point, i look at the painting of that great man and i lift the glass and i make a toast to that man which i want to believe Aphrodite gave the recipe of the true love, of the true passion.