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Pecorino is a white Italian wine grape variety that is grown in the Marche, Abruzzo, Liguria, Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio regions of Italy. Ampelographers believe that the grape is likely native to Marche where it is still used today in the Offida Pecorino DOCG, DOC wines of Falerio dei Colli Ascolani, Colli Maceratesi and Offida. Pecorino is a very old variety that likely originated as a wild grapevine growing in the Sibillini Mountains that was eventually domesticated for wine production. The grape's name stems from the Italian word pecora, meaning sheep. Local legend is that sheep in the Marche region would often eat the grapes while moving through the vineyards. In addition to be grown in Marche, plantings of Pecorino can also be found in the Chieti, Pescara and Teramo provinces of Abruzzo where it is used in the sparkling wines of Controguerra and in several Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) wines of the region.

A classic Pecorino-based wine is dry and minerally, straw yellow in color and has an elegantly floral bouquet of acacia and jasmine, sometimes spiced with a faint hint of licorice and it is a great pairing for pecorino cheese.

Pecorino like many Heirloom Grape Varietals was on the brink of extinction until the early 1980's when a man named Guido Cocci Grifoni was doing research on native grapes within the Marche region discovered the presence of a tiny vineyard on the right bank of the river Tronto which was owned by an 80 year old man named Mr. Cafani. Mr. Cafani's vineyard was purported to have a few struggling vines of the old Pecorino variety and when he visited the site in 1982, Mr Grifoni took some of these cuttings home and grafted the vines onto modern rootstocks and began to grow the Pecorino grape in earnest.
Pecorino Grapes

The vines didn't give any substantial harvests until the early 1990's, and when they finally started producing usable grapes, Grifoni began experimenting with making wine from those grapes. Encouraged by his early results, he planted more and more land to Pecorino. Eventually he was making enough wine to sell, which he began doing in the early 1990's. Grifoni campaigned for official recognition and received it in 2001 as Pecorino was finally allowed into the Offida DOC zone, where wines carrying the Offida Pecorino DOC designation must contain at least 85% Pecorino grapes. Guido Cocci Grifoni was the first producer to begin widely using Pecorino in his Offida DOC wines and introduced the variety to nearby Ripatransone.

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