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Meet Your New Fave Chilled Red: Pelaverga

Updated: Jun 6, 2022

Pelaverga is a lesser known grape of the Piedmont region of Italy that is the perfect summer wine with a chill and grilling out. Castello di Verduno is one of the only producers growing this historic red grape.

Just the other day, a customer gave me the quote of the season: “Chilled reds are my love language!” Something tells me this could go viral on social media! Because, yes, chilled reds are certainly having a moment right now. But, I am guessing this moment will endure. After all, who does not want a refreshing, mouth-watering red to pair with your summer cookout?

There are a plethora of chilled red options out there. But I am here today to introduce you to one that’s most likely off your radar. Enter: Pelaverga! This native grape of Piedmont, Italy, naturally plays second fiddle to many of the more well known varieties there (like Nebbiolo, Barbera, and Dolcetto). And the reality is there is not an abundance of Pelaverga out there. But trust me it’s worth seeking out.

We are lucky enough to have Castello di Verduno’s interpretation at the shop I manage. And it’s a beauty. A seductive star bright, ruby red in the glass that just looks like summertime. And the aromas/flavors? Think perfectly ripe strawberries with a touch of rose and racy minerality.

The village of Verduno is in fact ground zero for Pelaverga (there are written records of its cultivation here dating back to the 17th century). Historically, it was used as a blending grape, but thankfully in 1972 Gabriela Burlotto from Castello di Verduno planted a vineyard entirely to Pelaverga. Today, Pelaverga di Verduno has DOC status and there is even a grower’s association, Verduno è Uno, to promote the village of Verduno and the historic grape.

So far I have only come across two Pelavergas (the Castello di Verduno and a handful of bottles from GM Burlotto last fall) needless to say it’s not the easiest wine to find! But I promise it is well worth the search. And if you live in Charleston I am happy to fulfill your Pelaverga dreams as we just stocked the shelves with a case of the Verduno.

It’s $33 price tag might not seem like a bargain until you take that first swirl and sip. I promise that you too will be swearing that, “Chilled reds are my love language!”

P.S. I enjoyed my bottle just last weekend with grilled pork chops and panzanella. I can imagine it going well with anything off the grill (including homemade pizza)! I would recommend throwing the bottle in the fridge for about 30 minutes before serving and even keeping it in a wine chiller, especially if you are dining outside!

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