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Oltrepo Pavese is essentially the southern part of the historic province of Pavia, within the region of Lombardia, northwest Italy. It is in the area where Lombardia meets Emilia-Romagna and Piedmont. Like Piedmont, this area was historically part of the House of Savoy. Winemaking goes back some 3000 years in this area. The vineyards are draped over the foothills of the Apennines near the river Po. The vineyards enjoy a microclimate, due to the influence of the river. The soils are well-drained, yet rich in clay and calcareous marl. It is considered very similar to Barolo. More than half of the wines of Lombardia are produced in this region. Pinot noir is the primary grape of this region, and indeed Oltrepo Pavese is considered the best place in Italy for its production.

 

The estate of Ca’Montebello blankets low lying hills, in typical calcareous and clay soils, with eastern and western exposure alike. The Scarani family have farmed grapes in this land for generations. Luigi is the winemaker. Ines, his wife, and their son, Alberto are on the commercial side of the business. Daughter, Cristina, is a gifted oenologist. This is truly a family business.

 

Sangue di Giuda

 

This rare, red, sparkling wine is made from Barbera, Croatina, and Uva Rara. The name means “the blood of Judas” apparently because of a legend stating that friars in the area considered this wine naughty, thanks to its apparent aphrodisiacal effects. This wine is sweet, red and purpley, with candied raspberries, blueberry pie, kirsch, and raspberry fruit roll up. This would be great with a chocolate and fruit dessert, of course. You could also have this with poached pear and a strong blue cheese, like Roquefort. A New York-style pepperoni pizza with hot pepper flakes would also be a yummy combo. Finally, General Tso’s chicken would be fantastic with this sweet, bubbly, bottle of naughtiness.

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