Posted by: tomciocco | April 11, 2014

THE TROUBLE WITH TREBBIANO

Ah, the confusion that nomenclature can engender…Certain supposed families of grape varieties – like  Malvasia or Muscat or tonight’s subject Trebbiano – include numerous supposed siblings or cousins that are specified with a qualifying color or geographical designation that in the end turn out to have little to nothing in common with each other other than the name by which they are known.

In the case of Trebbiano, there is Trebbiano Toscano, Trebbiano Bianco, Trebbiano Verde, Trebbiano di Lugana, Trebbiano di Soave, Trebbiano di Romagna, Trebbiano Spoletino and this evening’s grape, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo and otthers as well. And as I allude to above, some of of these varieties are kin, and others are completely distinctive and unrelated to any of the others. Which ones are which is beyond the scope of this post, and likely your tolerance to read about it the explication as well, so I’ll stick to a brief discussion of Trebbiano d’Abruzzo.

For quite a while, the common wisdom held that Trebbiano d’Abruzzo was identical to, and more properly called by the name Bombino Bianco which is another white grape variety that is grown in numerous pockets across the regions of Puglia, Molise, Lazio and Abruzzo. Well, as it turns out, recent genetic testing has conclusively determined that Trebbiano d’Abruzzo is absolutely NOT Bombino Bianco, and not only is it not even remotely related to Bombino, it also doesn’t seem to be related to any other grape vine that bears the “Trebbiano” moniker. “What’s in a name” indeed. And to this I would add the Italian sentence Viva la ricerca genetica.

Like most if not all of the “Trebbianos”, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo produces a light and crisp white wine, but unlike some that bear the name, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo is rife with character, a character that I’d describe as zippy, mildly aromatic, with certain sort of complex austerity, and this example is no exception. Most of the Trebbianos are typically found as a constituent part of blend, but conversely, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo is almost always bottled unalloyed which is a clear testament to the divergence of this Trebbiano from the others, as well as the confidence that growers in the Abruzzo region have in one of the very few white grape vines that are endemic to this ruggedly mountainous region in central Italy.

I matched this saucy little white with a first course of fettuccine all’abruzzese (with pancetta, onion, olive oil, broth, pecorino cheese, parsley, basil, and lots of freshly ground black pepper) followed by slices of monkfish braised in a orange, white wine, mint, garlic and saffron cream sauce with a side of baby artichokes and peas.

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Cantina Colle Moro Trebbiano d’Abruzzo “Friso” 2012

Medium “white gold” color. Quite pungent nose of pear, lemon, powdered ginger, brook water, grilled corn and dried yellow flowers. In the mouth the wine shows a medium light body that is round and smooth but fresh, spunky edge that spring flavors of Golden Delicious apple, quince, lime, hay, and cocoa butter. Notes of kumquat and lychee on the long bitter/tart finish.

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Responses

  1. Another interesting post, Tom, that has my mouth watering and nose twitching in anticipation of smelling those wonderfully described wine aromas. Do you happen to know which Trebbiano variety is the same as the French Ugni Blanc grape of Côtes de Gascogne white wine fame, as well as the main variety distilled to make Armagnac?

  2. Thanks Tom. It’s my understanding that Ugni Blanc is identical to Trebbiano Toscano.

  3. For sure, the name can be confusing. Anyways, congrats for this delicious experience!


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