Exploring Italian Sparkling Wine: Pignoletto


Italy is not only home to some of the world’s very best red and white wines. Over the last centuries, the country developed a tradition to produce sparkling wines. Because Italian wine legislation is sometimes quite difficult to understand, I wrote a guide which should help you to understand the differences between a Vino Frizzante and a Vino Spumante. . If you are not familiar with Italian sparkling wines then I recommend that you read the guide first. The guide also includes wine recommendations.

Emilia-Romagna mapOk, now you should know that Pignoletto is a grape and that it is mostly planted in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy to make vino frizzante. Still wines from Pignoletto also exist. Pignoletto is believed to have a very similar DNA to one of the  sub-varieties of Grechetto. However, the Bolognesi (the citizens of Bologna, the capital of the Emilia Romagna) don’t like to call their grape Grechetto. One reason behind that is the long tradition of growing Pignoletto on top of the hills around Bologna. This tradition gave the region in 2010 its second DOCG appellation – The Colli Bolognesi Classico DOCG. The first wine to receive DOCG status in the Emilia Romagna is the Albana di Romagna DOCG.

Pignoletto is not only grown in the area of the Colli Bolognesi Classico appellation. Many wineries started planting it in other parts of the Emilia-Romagna, too.

One of my favorite Pingoletto Frizzante comes from the town of Imola and is produced by Azienda Agricola Zuffa. I have visited the winery in 2011 and 2012 and if you travel to Bologna and the Emilia Romagna, then make sure to give Zuffa a visit. The wines of Zuffa can also be tried at the annual VinItaly in Verona. 

2011 Azienda Agricola Zuffa – Elegans – Colle d’Imola DOC

2011 Azienda Agricola Zuffa - Elegans Pignoletto - Colle d'Imola DOCElegans is produced with 100% Pignoletto. The wine aged in French oak from Allier. From my experience, most Pignoletto Frizzante should be consumed within two years after the release on the market. Elegans is classified as Colle d’Imola DOC. In the glass, Elegans has a yellow color with green hues. The wine had fine, long-lasting bubbles. The label listed alcohol by volume was 11.5%. On the nose, there were was immediately a heavy aroma off apple cider. Later on the bouquet evolved and I smelled white peach. flowers and hints of citrus peel. In the mouth, the wine was fresh, elegant and dry. I tasted fresh fruit, especially green apple. Elegans was a little bit mineralic and there was very little acidity. The finish was persistently long.

4 / 5 stars      

Parting words

The 2011 Elegans from Azienda Agricola Zuffa is a Pignoletto of exceptional quality and definitely one of the best I know. The wine is an excellent aperitif and goes well with a variety of starters. Mozzarella in Carrozza with basil-parfait was my choice with this wine. Elegans retails for around 10€.

Have you tried the Elegans or any other Pignoletto? How did you like it? Let me know in the comment section below.


14 comments on “Exploring Italian Sparkling Wine: Pignoletto”

  1. Sean P. Reply

    I like Vino frizzante. Glad to see thaf you do,too!
    However, I am Not familiar with the Pignoletto from Zuffa yet…

    • Julian Rossello Reply

      Glad to hear that you enjoy Vino Frizzante. Zuffa is a small winery so it’s no surprise that you are not familiar with them. Have you tried any other Pignoletto before?

  2. Wine and Wine Reply

    Nice and informative! Thanks for sharing your insights on this to me unknown sparkling wine. Haven’t heard about it before and I find it quite interesting that Grechetto and Pignoletto have the same DNA .

    • Julian Rossello Reply

      Wine and Wine,
      Thank you! It’s quite common that two grapes share similar DNA. The sub-variety of Grechetto which is similar to Pignoletto comes from Umbria.

  3. Suzanne Reply

    Wonderful review, from your description Elegans sounds like a wine I need to try. It sounds very good. Your description is just perfect, I could almost taste it while reading.

    • Julian Rossello Reply

      Thank you! Elegans is an exceptional Pignoletto. I know that Zuffa exports their wines to Asia (especially China is a booming market) and according to wine searcher, there are two US retailers in New York. Maybe one of them carries the Elegans 🙂

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