Pjcol Ross is one of the original grapes used to produce Lambrusco – the light bubbly red wine from Emilia-Romagna that is the traditional match for mortadella, prosciutto, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena and Reggio Emilia.
Pjcol Ross is named after the red character of it”s stalk: “Pjcol” means stalk and “Ross” means red. Pjcol Ross was saved from near extinction by the Rinaldini family. Due to its notoriously low yields and complexity and delicacy of fruit many would consider Pjcol Ross to be the premium Lambrusco varietal. We recently interviewed Paola Rinaldini about the story of Pjcol Ross.
Sedimentary: Paola – thanks for taking the time to talk with us. We know that your father started your estate. Originally, he was a restaurateur in the area. Why did he decide to start making wine?
Paola Rinaldini: Originally my father made Lambrusco just for his own restaurant, but at the time he personally took care only of the last part of production, the bottling. After the purchase of the estate, he discovered the whole production chain and he fell in love with this job. That’s why he decided to leave the restaurant and start making wine.
Sedimentary: We understand that there is a special story about that first winter that your father was nursing the Pjcol Ross grapes. Can you share it with us?
Paola Rinaldini: Pjcol Ross is an ancient indigenous vine of Val d’Enza (the valley of the river Enza). It was abandoned because of its very poor productivity many years ago. In fact, when my father Rinaldo decided to produce this kind of Lambrusco on a larger scale, he had to create himself the seedlings, since they weren’t in any plant nursery. Therefore, he took the vine shoots of the ancient plants we had on our estate, put them in small boxes of soil and placed them in an unheated plastic greenhouse. On a January night during that winter it froze and my father was afraid that the plants would die. So, he took down all the kerosene heaters in the house (which were the only system of heating in the house!) with the help of my mother, my sister and myself (we were young girls at the time) we set the heaters up in the greenhouse in order to keep the plants warm. Of course, the house when we returned was very cold. I remember the chill of that starry full-moon night as if it was now! However, if we hadn’t done that, maybe Pjcol Ross would no longer exist today.
Sedimentary: We know you also share a passion for food and wine and that you continue to make Pjcol Ross today in the way that it was meant to be made. Can you tell us about your approach to the vineyard and to winemaking?
Paola Rinaldini: I began to help my father in the winery when I was 16 years old. Year after year, I learned what “making wine” really meant. This job is fascinating, difficult, and demanding. But, it is definitely never monotonous, because every year you have to face a new challenge: one year you may have to fight with low acidity whereas the following year just the opposite happens! In any case, it takes a lot of passion. Pjcol Ross is a wine that I have always loved, even if it’s so hard to grow this variety of grapes because they are very delicate, they ripen early, and they have a very low yield. In the cellar it’s equally difficult so you need to have a great deal of experience in order to get the expected results. But, in the end the fruit is certainly outstanding and it makes wonderful wines. Pjcol Ross is a Lambrusco with original character, elegance coming from the grapes, and refinement due to the Metodo Classico that we use. In the glass you will find out all its magic!
Thanks to Paola Rinaldini for her time.
Disclosure: We import Paola’s Pjcol Ross Lambrusco. For our latest offering of her wines go here.