Italian Grape Varieties

Italian Grape Varieties

Italian Red Grapes

Aglianico: used to make quality full-bodied red wines in Campania (best commune being Taurasi) and also in up and coming Basilicata. Of Greek origin, it was known as “Vitis Hellenica”

Aleatico: strong Mediterranean red varietal grown on the island of Elba and also in Puglia and Lazio

Barbera: makes both elegant and juicy wines in Piedmont

Bonarda: classic Lombard grape grown in the Oltrepò Pavese and Colli Piacentini DOCs.

Bovale: Sardinian red grape of Spanish origin

Cannonau: grown in the gorgeous island of Sardegna, also called Alicante. Said to have been imported from Spain in 13th century

Cesanese: grown in the Lazio region it is often used to make semi sparkling red

Corvina: one of the key grapes used for the production of Amarone, also used for wines like Valpolicella, Bardolino and Recioto Classico

Dolcetto: originated in Piedmont and has become a huge commercial success

Frappato: main grape used to make the famed Sicilian Cerasuolo

Freisa: light red from Piedmont used to make semi sparkling wines

Fumin: grown in the Aosta Valley

Gaglioppo: Greek varietal imported in ancient times to Calabria, Cirò is most famous brand to use this grape

Grignolino: light colored red wine is made from this grape in Piedmont mainly around Monferrato and Asti

Lambrusco: historic grape in Italy from Emilia Romagna, became notorious for the sweet sparking red wines.

Malvasia Nera: Literally Black Malvasia, used in many wines from Puglia

Molinara: one of the 3 grapes used for Amarone production (the others being Rondinella and Corvina)

Montepulciano d´Abruzzo: up and coming grape used to make some excellent wines in the Marche and Abruzzi regions, also in Molise and Puglia

Nebbiolo: the Piemontese grape used to make Barolo and Barbaresco, also called Chiavennasca in Valtellina to produce Sforzato, and Spanna

Negrara: Veneto grape from the Negrar district of Valpolicella, characteristic

Negroamaro: means “Black bitter”, this intense black grape is king in Puglia,

Nero d´Avola: also called “Calabrese, this is considered to be the finest red grape in Sicily and makes powerful wines

Ormeasco: the term used for the Dolcetto grape in Liguria

Piedirosso: found in Campania, probably of Greek origin as many Campania grapes. Means “red feet”, and is main grape in some of Mustilli´s best wines.

Primitivo: cousin to California’s zinfandel and originating in Croatia, this popular red grape used in Puglia, particularly in the Salice Salentino and Primitivo di Manduria wines

Prugnolo Gentile: name of the Sangiovese Grosso clone used to make the famed Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

Raboso: grown in the Padua province especially for the wines from Colli Euganei

Refosco: main red grape from Friuli, makes light reds

Rondinella: used as part of a trio of grapes in Amarone and other Valpolicella wines

Sagrantino: the main red grape of Umbria and used to make the excellent DOCG Sagrantino di Montefalco

Sangiovese: also called Morellino, this is the flagship grape of Italy used to make Chianti Classico,

Schiava/Vernatsch: northern red grape found in Trentino Alto Adige

Italian White Grapes

Albana: found in Emilia Romagna, making ordinary still whites and some interesting sweet passitos.

Arneis: fragrant white grape found in Piedmont

Bombino: found in central and southern Italy, especially in Puglia

Carricante: found growing on the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily

Catarrato: Sicilian varietal, one of the grapes used to make marsala

Coda di Volpe: means “fox tail”, used in the production of the Lacyrma Christi del Vesuvio Bianco wines

Cortese: grape used to make Gavi, in Alessandria (Piedmont)

Falanghina: fabulous varietal found in Campania, very aromatic. Top Falanghina comes from the Feudi di San Gregorio winery

Fiano: used to make lovely whites in and around Avellino

Forastera: found on the island of Ischia

Garganega: grape used to make Soave and Gambellara wines

Greco di Tufo: Greek descendant found all over the south of Italy

Grillo: originating in Western Sicily, main varietal used for Marsala

Inzolia: common white grape found in Sicily

Muscat: aromatic grapey grape found throughout Italy

Pigato: unusual varietal found in Liguria

Pinot Grigio: commercial success story, this is Pinot Gris

Pinot Bianco: found all over the north especially in Lombardia, Veneto, Friuli and Alto Adige

Prosecco: the grape used to make the Venetian bubbly with same namesake, key ingredient to the famed Bellini cocktail

Tocai Friulano: grape with confusing terminology as it is not actually related to Hungarian Tokay. Makes nice whites in Veneto, Friuli and Lombardia

Trebbiano: known as ugni blanc in France, this is a varietal grown all over the country.

Verdicchio: interesting white used in the Marche, one of Italy´s hottest up and coming wine regions.

Vermentino: most famous white grape from Sardegna, believed to be of Spanish origin.

Vernaccia: white grape used in a DOCG in San Gimignano, Tuscany

Zibibbo: main grape used to make the delicious sweet Passito di Pantelleria


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