Please The Palate Pick of the Week: Grignolino

As the glasses sat in front of me, I looked at them and all I could think of was how sexy they looked. Transparent garnet in color, it is the lack of color intensity that drew me in. There was something so inviting about the wines and hence Grignolino is the Please The Palate pick of the week.

Grignolino is an indigenous variety from the Monferrato Hills in Piemonte, Italy. It has been a noble grape since the 8th century. In fact, a document from the year 1243 mentioned Grignolino which may make it one of the most historic of grapes. Grignolino was one of the primary grapes in Asti, in northern Italy, for more than 1000 years but much was replaced with the easier-to-grow Barbera and for 50 years, Grignolino was close to abandonment. But Grignolino is being revived and it is a wine to look out for.

Grignolino produces a pale red wine that has naturally high levels of tannin and acidity. It is a food-friendly wine and has great aging potential. It may seem strange that it does not have intense color, like other red wines, but that is because the skins of the Grignolino grape do not have a lot of phenolic compounds. The color of the wine does not determine the quality of the wine.

One of the standouts was the Tenuta Santa Catarina Arlandino 2010 Grignolino d’Asti, a light red wine with an orange tint and aromas of wild strawberry and raspberry and savory notes. A medium-bodied wine, this wine is produced in stainless steel and has medium tannins and medium plus acidity.

I also enjoyed the Tenuta Santa Catarina M2012 Grignolino d’Asti DOC. This Grignolino has a longer maceration period and spends two years in tonneau barrel (900 liters). The resulting wine has aromas of stewed fruit and soft tannins and, after six years, still has high acidity.

Grignolino is sexy to look at and to drink and that is why it is the Please The Palate pick of the week.