Cantine Pitigliano, a winery named for the small town in southern Tuscany in which it is based, has been producing kosher wine and olive oil for 30 years, but the products have never been imported to America until this year. Pitigliano also features a Jewish quarter called “Little Jerusalem” which celebrates the historical presence of a Jewish community going back to 1598. The town was home to a flourishing community, mostly made up by Jews fleeing Rome during the Counter-Reformation persecution. The community restored its synagogue in 1995 for tours, which includes a mikvah, winery and matzo bakery underneath the synagogue building. There are few Jews left in Pitigliano today.
Pietro Ferri, the head of the Cantine Pitigliano winery, has a special affinity to the Jewish community and makes two kosher runs each year in the winery, which was established in 1954. The wine is certified by the OU, and kosher import company The River Wine has just begun importing their two kosher wines, Rosso and Bianco, in time for the yom tov season, as part of their Contessa Annalisa line of Italian wines. Cantine Pitigliano produces 30,000 kosher bottles each of the red and the white, with grapes coming from 420 member vineyards, primarily small farmer cooperatives, from around the region.
The Rosso is made with 100 percent Sangiovese grapes, and the Bianco contains Trebbiano and Malvasia.
The red wine is primarily bottle aged, spending only approximately 10 days in the skins and another 10 days fermenting in steel vats. As the wine is young, it’s recommended to drink immediately. The Rosso was described by the winery’s staff member Flaminia, translating over the phone for Pietro Ferri, as ruby red, fruity, with hints of cherry and pleasant flowers, and is best accompanied with roasted meats, mushrooms, white game, pecorino cheese or fresh goat cheese.
Bianco Toscano is a very typical Tuscan table wine, a Trebbiano Toscano, with fermentation in the still and temperature controlled. Aging, like the red wine, is in the bottle and, as it is also a young wine, is recommended to drink immediately. Flaminia noted the wine goes well with fish, rice, pasta with light sauces without tomato, and white meats or white cheeses. The wine has floral notes, dry, the taste is fresh, balanced and has fruity final notes.
By Elizabeth Kratz
Learn more about Rosso Toscano and Bianco and the Contessa Annalisa line from The River here: http://www.theriverwine.com/ca.html.