Exploring Italy’s Native White Grapes- An Invitation (#ItalianFWT)

This month on #ItalianFWT, I’m super excited to host this amazing category of wines that often get very little credit. In the past, tasting notes for Italian white included ‘bitter almond’…that’s it. That was the extent of the tasting note!

Today this is simply not true! The wealth of Italian white grapes is phenomenal and some of them even ageable! (see my post on Verdicchio)

So for this month, let’s explore the amazing white wines of Italy! I’d love to see a variety of grapes being chosen for this month and see some amazing food pics to go with. Here’s just a short list of indigenous white grapes of Italy that might help you find a wine. (Actually, this is a rather long post, so I hope you stay with me until the end!)

Val D’Aosta – if you’re lucky enough to find a wine from here, I would love for you to share it! There’s more red that white here, but if you can find some Prié, you’ve found the white wine from Val D’Aosta! Of course, there’s Moscato Bianco too and you can bet it tastes different here than an example from Piemonte would!

Piemonte – not only is this one the best quality regions with the highest number of DOCG, it also has a wealth of autochthonous grapes including:

  • Cortese
  • Favorita (It’s Vermentino, but it’s not)
  • Erbaluce
  • Arneis
  • Nascetta
  • Timorasso

Lombardy – next door, there’s a few here worth mentioning.

  • Turbiana (Trebbiano di Lugana) 
  • Moscato Giallo
  • Erbamat (the newest grape to come on the scene used in Franciocorta)

Liguria – this beautiful coastal region is home to the genetically identical Vermentino and Pigato, yet producing two very different wines! Don’t forget about Bosco, a very high quality white grape coming from Liguria. If you can get your hands on any of the sweet wines of the Cinque Terre, this would be fantastic to write about as well!

Veneto – as we all know, home to the Glera grape and Prosecco. However, if you want to venture out into indigenous waters, have a look for these:

  • Durella (Very high acidity in this grape so most often used for sparkling)
  • Garganega (the highly ageable, volcanic grape of Soave)
  • Trebbiano di Soave (Verdicchio)
  • Vespaiola (a beautiful light floral grape named after Vespa, (wasps) which incidentally, are very attracted to this grape.)

Trentino Alto Adige– white from here are really amazing as mountain fruit benefits from Alpine climates and great diurnal range. As well, there is lots of German influence so traditional grapes from this region would also be welcome.

  • Moscato Giallo
  • Nosiola
  • Kerner
  • Muller Thurgau
  • Sylvaner
  • Pinot Bianco

Friuli Venezia-Giulia– no other region offers as large of a selection of white wines from many different grape varieties and in many different styles.

  • Ribolla Gialla
  • Tocai Friulano
  • Malvasia Istriana
  • Picolit
  • Verduzzo
  • Vitovska

Emilia-Romagna– Lambrusco land has a few white grapes worth mentioning that are really high quality. If you can find these, that is fantastic! These grapes can also be found in different styles as well.

  • Malvasia di Candia Aromatica
  • Albana
  • Pignoletto
  • Grechetto di Todi
  • Ortrugo
  • Pignoletto

Umbria- Known for the white wines of Orvieto made with Grechetto and a host of others. Venturing out, look for a grape from the Trebbiano group – Trebbiano di Spoletino.

Tuscany- There’s more than just Sangiovese here! Our minds think of a lot of red wine, but look for the following:

  • Vernaccia (di San Gimignano)
  • Vermentino
  • Fiano
  • Malvasia Biana Lunga (think Vin Santo…)
  • Ansonica
  • Trebbiano Toscana

Marche- We’ve talked a lot about Verdicchio and it’s a beautiful, ageable white grape, however, there are a couple noteable grapes here worth looking for:

  • Passerina
  • Pecorino
  • Biancame

Abruzzo- The home of Trebbiano Abruzzese which make the wines of Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, along with Pecorino and if you’re lucky, maybe you can even find Montonico Bianco…

Lazio- a region that doesn’t usually get much respect in the wine world, but some of the whites there are gorgeous!

  • Bellone
  • Malvasia del Lazio
  • Moscato di Terracina

Campania- a plethora of native whites exist here and many of our markets undoubtedly carry a white wine from Campania!

  • Fiano
  • Greco
  • Falanghina
  • Coda di Volpa
  • Asprinio
  • Biancolella
  • Forastera

Basilicata- This is a little more difficult to be sure, but interestingly enough, in my market I have an Aglianico Bianco, where just the juice of the Aglianico is fermented. However, there IS a quality Malvasia that comes from Basilicata called appropriately, Malvasia di Basilicata.

Puglia- From the heel of Italy’s boot, there’s some beauty white grapes grown here.

  • Bombino Bianco
  • Verdeca
  • Bianco d’Alessano
  • Pampanuto
  • Malvasia Bianca

Calabria- On the other coast, the “toe” of Italy’s boot, not to be confused with Greco from Campania, if you can find it, there are some beautiful examples of Greco Bianco to be found!

Sicily– From one of my favourite regions when it comes to native grapes, Sicily shines with white grapes grown all over the island. Marsala, the famous fortified wine is made with typically at least three.

  • Ansonica (they call it Inzolia here)
  • Carricante
  • Catarratto Bianco
  • Grillo
  • Malvasia di Lipari
  • Zibbibo (Moscato di Alessandria, grown (mostly) on Pantelleria)

Sardinia- Last, but certainly not least, this “blue zone” has some rare and interesting white grape varieties that are starting to become sought after, and dare I say, trendy.

  • Nuragus
  • Vermentino
  • Malvasia di Lipari (known as Malvasia di Sardegna here…obviously) 🙂
  • Vernaccia di Oristano (I have to tell you I was able to taste some absolutely stunning examples of this during my recent time at the 2022 5 Star Wines Competition. Done in a solera, these sherry-like oxidative style wines are just gorgeous, complex and super ageable. As a matter of fact, a Vernaccia di Oristano scored Top Wine at the competition!)

Not to be outdone as a white grape, is of course Moscato Bianco that is grown in several of the above regions!

Want to Join Us?

The writers with Italian Food Wine and Travel are exploring Italy’s native white grapes in June!  You can join us! We will be posting our pieces on June 2 & 3 with a live Twitter chat on Saturday, June 4th!  If you would like to join us, here’s how.

  • Pick an Italian white wine (made with a native grape of course). You can do more than one! In fact, I’d be disappointed if you DID only do one. (You can do a sponsored post as long as you disclose that the wines are samples)
  • Ideally, pair it with a meal, although it can be aperitivi also, then write about the experience
  • Just drop me an email at joyofwine69@gmail.com if you would like to join us, with your name, website, and Twitter address, (or reply to the #ItalianFWT Facebook event if you are already a part of our group!)
  • I’ll need your title by end of day May 30th
  • When you publish your piece, include #ItalianFWT at the end of your title and include a section with the HTML links to the other writers’ posts
  • Then join us at 8 am PT or 11 am ET on Twitter on June 4 (we will have a list of questions we will share!) and use the hashtag #ItalianFWT
  • Read through the other posts and comment and share! And then don’t forget to update the HTML so that you have live links to all the other pieces in your post

Salute!

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2 Responses to Exploring Italy’s Native White Grapes- An Invitation (#ItalianFWT)

  1. Pingback: Albana, Boschera,  Erbaluce, Incrocio Bruni, Maceratino: Rare Italian White Grapes Plus Pairings #ItalianFWT | wine predator.............. gwendolyn alley

  2. Pingback: Dreaming of Lake Garda with a wine from Lugana #ItalianFWT | Crushed Grape Chronicles

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