The Passerina grape is an old variety grown in central Italy, especially in Terre di Chieti in the Abruzzi, but you don’t see it as much on labels as the better-known Pecorino because it’s often blended and also used for sparkling wines and Vin Santo. Perhaps its versatility, together with high yields (one of its synonyms, Pagadebit, means ‘pays the debts’), have stood in the way of a higher-flying solo career.
This, anyway, is pure Passerina, organic and full of charm. It’s not an aromatic powerhouse of a variety like, say, Sauvignon or Riesling, but it has much more to say for itself than the average Pinot Grigio – in this case, fresh stone-fruit, pear and citrus with hints of blossom and almond, a supple, creamy textured, medium-bodied palate and gently refreshing grapefruit acidity. It doesn’t shout but it has real presence. Drink it as an aperitif or with antipasti, vegetable gratins, simple pasta, fish, seafood or chicken. 12.5%.
As a partner, try Boccantino's Susumaniello 2016, a powerful, dark-cherry, plum and peppery-spice flavoured red made in Puglia from a grape variety even less often bottled as a varietal wine than Passerina (£11, The Daily Drinker).