I enjoyed reading Kyle Phillips’ Italian Wine Review this week. It’s about a little known grape called Ortrugo grown in the Colli Piacentini, the hills around Piacenza (see a map of Emiglia Romagna showing Piacenza).
He said the varietal was introduced to the Colli Piacentini by a barbarian who had cuttings in his saddle bag: The man liked the countryside enough to stop and plant his cuttings, which the locals referred to with a dialect word that sounds like “Ortrugo,” and means “The other grapes.”
That’s why I like Italy. Even the barbarians carry around grape cuttings. You never know when you’ll need to settle down and plant a vineyard.