This area belongs to the province of Pavia and it is named so because it lies south of the Pò river, right in the middle of northern Apennine Mountains, snug between Emilia Romagna, Piedmont, Lombardy and Liguria. Set on the 45th parallel, this region has a very good climate which favors grape ripening even in late fall. The soil is rich in clay and limestone for red berry vines and rich in gypsum on higher hills for white berry vines and sparkling base wine.
Oltrepò Pavese is a large area where several different vine varieties and production methods coexist, so it is difficult to sum it up in a few lines. The extremely wide variety range named in the standards of identity is explained by market history. After WWII, the demand of the local market called for quantity; the growing low-income population needed calories to complement a poor daily diet which wine was able to do. Therefore vineyard hectares increased and so did the number of cultivated vines. Yet, nowadays, in this area, they work not only for quantity but also for quality. As a result, in the Oltrepò is easy to find excellent wine at a good price.
Docg, Doc e Igt
One Docg, Seven Doc and One Igt
Docg Oltrepò Pavese Classic Method;
Doc Bonarda Oltrepò Pavese, Buttafuoco Oltrepò Pavese, Casteggio, Oltrepò Pavese, Pinot Gris Oltrepò Pavese, Pinot Noir Oltrepò Pavese and Sangue di Giuda Oltrepò Pavese;
Igt Province of Pavia
The great sparkling wine tradition, characterized for the most part by the use of Pinot Noir, of which Oltrepò Pavese is the main national producer, goes back to antiquity. The first classical method employed in the area is dated 1872.
The Oltrepò Pavese Classical Method:
Pinot Noir 85% minimum, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc
Docg lists four typologies:
Oltrepò Pavese, Oltrepò Pavese Rosè, Oltrepò Pavese Pinot Noir and Oltrepò Pinot Noir Rosè.
As far as Doc is concerned, we can name Bonarda and Barbera, still or sparkling, with beautiful ruby colors, intense and fruity scents, nuances of blackberries, raspberries and strawberries. Wines fit to accompany the well known Varzi salame or other traditional dishes such as risottoes, tripe, and red meats. All dishes that might as well be accompanied by Buttafuoco. Among reds, there is a soft, warm and enduring Pinot Noir which in the Oltrepò perfectly matches serious red meat dishes. To be had at the end of the meal, another interesting local product, is Sangue di Giuda, a sweet wine to go with fruit pies and sbrisolona pie (a pie that crumbles into crunchy fat chunks).
Oltrepò white wines have fragrant scents of fruit and flowers with herbal and mineral touches. Riesling, Sauvignon and Chardonnay, for example, go well with fish dishes, mussels, or white meat. Lastly, Malvasia and Moscato, sweet and fragrant, are perfect companions to desserts such panettone, colomba and torta paradiso.