Trebbiano has turned into the most incredible and important grape variety of white wines in Italy and beyond.
Trebbiano is a grape variety that is impossible to ignore, not because it produces great wine but because it produces so much of it and it is one the most widely grape varieties planted in the world. Some estimates suggest that it produces more wine than any other grape variety. The Trebbiano grape accounts for about one third of all white wine production in Italy, as a part of more than 80 of DOCs ("Controlled Origin Denomination").
It originated in central Italy. The characteristics that make Trebbiano so popular amongst winemakers are its ability to thrive in most soil types, disease resistance, high yields and high acidity.
Nonetheless, these wines are refreshing, if simple, with faint citrus aromas, followed by clean citrus fruit flavours and some almond notes on the finish. Trebbiano references a group of grapes that yield dry white wines as well as delicious sweet dessert wines. Their commonality in appearance (e.g. white berries, long bunches), ripening period and performance (e.g. higher yields and versatility to soil types) likely accounts for the common name. But after that, they can be startlingly different in the glass. The finest examples of Trebbiano d’Abruzzo (the DOC, not the grape, which is called Trebbiano Abruzzese) can be among Italy’s greatest white wines. Trebbiano wine is not suited for long-term aging. It is best enjoyed in its initial years when the fruit flavours are strong.
Trebbiano wines are produced as both single varietals and blend wines. The wine produced from the Trebbiano grape resembles a thinner, unoaked Chardonnay and is often labelled as a table wine. One of the great blends is Trebbiano Pinot Grigio. It is a refreshing, dry white wine with pear and citrus fruit flavours typical of the Pinot Grigio and Trebbiano grapes.
Interestingly, besides being used to make white wine, Trebbiano is also an essential component of brandies like Cognac and Armagnac. And before its use in winemaking, Trebbiano was commonly used to produce balsamic vinegar as well.
In Italy, Trebbiano is mainly planted in Tuscany and Marche. The grape accounts for a third of all white wine production in the country. Different variants of the Trebbiano vine can be found at Umbria, Atri, the Emilia Romagna region, and Abruzzo in central Italy.
In France, it is known as Ugni Blanc. The white grape variety is mainly used in wine and brandy (Cognac) production. The 90,000-hectare vineyards span over the Provençal coast, the Gironde and Charentais, Corsica, and the Côtes de Gascogne area.
One of the most popular grape varieties from the Trebbiano family includes the Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. This Trebbiano variety grows predominantly in the Abruzzo region of Central Italy and produces wines with robust fruity flavours. The Trebbiano Abruzzese wines have the appellation name on their labels - Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. This wine (a DOC-level wine) must be 85% Trebbiano Abruzzese, Trebbiano Toscano and/or Bambino Bianco.
Another popular grape variety is the Trebbiano di Lugana. It is a white grape variety grown in a small area south of Lake Garda. In this area, between the provinces of Brescia and Verona, the Trebbiano di Lugana has found a perfect habitat, thanks to the almost Mediterranean climate of the south coast of Garda, always mitigated by the gentle breeze from the lake. The land is of ancient glacial origin, with a flat area made up of white clay deposits, rich in limestone and minerals, and with low hills with a very sweet profile. Lugana wine is a white with a floral and fruity profile, with good structure and lively acidity. It also has considerable potential for evolution towards tertiary aromas and is one of the Italian whites that does not fear the passage of time.
Now you know about Trebbiano and its delicate tasting notes, it’s time to try it.
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