Italian Food and Flavours

vino cotto

Vino cotto

Vino cotto translates as “cooked wine” which it is, but it is so much more than that. Vino cotto is a specialist product only produced in the Piceno region of the Le Marche. The Piceno is the area of the southern Marche roughly between Fermo and Ascoli Piceno and is named after the tribe that lived here before the Romans took over.

Vino cotto is a delicious sweet ruby coloured dessert or cheese wine with some similarities to a ruby port or a fine sweet sherry. Having said that the taste is unique and is well worth seeking out when visiting the region.

Production is normally carried out on small farms for personal consumption though there are some commercial brands available. Traditionally produced from local white grapes such as passerina but reds work equally as well. the grapes are crushed and the juice and must are cooked in a large “rama” copper vessel. Copper is used as it does not taint the wine although one local tradition is to add a large iron bar the bottom of the pot, though no one seems to know why! When the rama is full a bucket full of “mele cotogne” quince, are added for flavour. The wine is then boiled down for around ten hours on an open fire until reduced to about half.

When cool the wine is transferred to 25 litre glass bottles for natural fermentation before storage in “barrique” french oak barrels. The vino cotto is then left for at least six months but it improves with age and the best is over ten years old.

Bizarrely EU rules forbid sales of vino cotto as a wine but allow it to be sold as a food.