Native grapes tell the story of the land upon which they’re cultivated, and of the people who grow them. Susan Hulme MW presents the south of Italy and its scenic islands through a dozen varieties originating in its hills, coasts, volcanoes and valleys.
Italy’s incredible wealth of native grape varieties endows it with a special place in the wine world.
It is teeming with local individuality, and nowhere does this express itself more forcefully than in its rarer, less well-known indigenous grape varieties and the wines made from them.
Italy has about 2,000 native grape varieties, with some 350 of these documented and authorised by the Italian government. For the adventurous wine drinker, Italy offers a treasure trove waiting to be discovered.
The 12 grape varieties that follow come from the south of Italy and from the islands of Sardinia and Sicily. Among them are six whites: Guardavalle from Calabria, Puglia's Minutolo, Sardinia's Vermentino; and from Campania, Caprettone, Ginestra and Pallagrello Bianco. For reds, we feature Gaglioppo from Calabria, Piedirosso from Campania, Puglia's Susumaniello, and Frappato, Nocera and Perricone from Sicily.