Italy has a wine making history of over 2000 years during which the fragmentaion and small fiefdoms encouraged plantining of hundreds of indigenous grapes varieties, generally confined to local regions, with some spreading wings. Cento Uve tasted by Subhash Arora is an embodiment of Italy's autochtonous grapes.
Travelling through Italy and tasting wines made from indigenous grapes is a fascinating experience. Some wines are undrinkable for the Indian palate or need an acquired taste, but a number of them are very seductive. Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Pinot Grigio, Trebbiano are the most popular indegenous varieties. Barbera, Dolcetto, Prosecco, Primitivo, Nero'dÁvola and Negroamaro are also getting popular. Valpolicella comprises primarily Corvina grape and Soave is purely from Garganega. Roero Arneis signifies Arneis, though Gavi DOC in Piedmont uses the local Cortese grape.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Shiraz Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, etc. are some of the international grape varieties which are getting more popular as varietals or even as blends with the indigenous varieties.
One such blended wine I had an opportunity to taste recently at Vinitaly and earlier at Federexport Piemonte in Torino was Cento Uve, a DOC Langhe wine. The label signifies 'a hundred grapes' but in fact it is a blend of 152 varieties, most being Italian indegenous varieties.
Produced by a small family-owned winery, Azienda Agricola Giribaldi Mario, this wine has Nebbiolo (Michet) as half the component. Remaining 50% are other varieties, over a 100 being indegenous, and hence the name Cento Uve. Wine is aged in 500 litre casks for 11 months and stored in bottles for another 10 before release.
This experimental wine is a pride of joy for the owner, Mario Giribaldi. He makes excellent Barolo and Barbaresco along with Barbera and Dolcetto etc, the staple wines from Piemonte. But less than 140 cases of Cento Uve are produced. Mario says, 'we planted 280 varieties in 1999 with 2 plants each which make up a fence around our winery in Rodello d' Alba and though not really commercially viable wine, we are very happy to showcase it.'
Adds his English-speaking daughter Alessandra, 'the work on further planting is still going on and we may even add more varieties to this wine. The varietal collection is thanks to our collaboration with Prof. Anna Schneider, Director of the Agronomy Faculty at the Torino University and the Oenological School in Conegliano, Veneto. It was her idea and she has been encouraging us to work more with the indigenous grapes.'
Majoriy of the grapes used are red-nero, and are marked N in the following table which lists all the varietals used along with their clones. Several white varietals- bianco, marked B have also been used in the blend which is dark ruby coloured, almost inky. With spicy notes, complex aromas and red berry fruity flavours with mild tannins this dry medium-to full bodied wine rolls beautiully in the mouth. It is a balanced and well integrated with good structure being provided by Nebbiolo which also makes it a bit tight right now, but it is not clear how the wine will age.
Cento Uve is a unique, collectible wine for connoisseurs with a story; the story of autochtonous grapes of Italy and how these wines are unique and have their individual character as a USP.
152 varietals of Cento Uve
Nebbiolo N. Plassa.N.
Barbera N. Riesling B.
Quagliano N. Riesling italico B.
Ruché N. Sangiovese N.
Sauvignon B. Syrah N.
Timorasso B. Uva rara N.
Ancellotta N. Vespolina N.
Sylvaner verde B. Albarossa N.
Traminer aromatico Rs. Barbera bianca B.
Uvalino N. Bussanello B.
Becuet N. Cabernet franc N.
Rossese bianco B. Durasa N.
Nero d'Ala N. Lambrusca di Alessandria N.
Cornarea N. Moscato nero di Acqui N.
Manzoni bianco B. Nascetta B.
Teroldego N. Neretta cuneese N.
Petit verdot N. Cabernet Franc N
Arneis B Vermentino B
Aleatico N. Michele Pagliari N
Avanà N. Ancellotta
Avarengo N. Friesa di Chieri N
Barbera N. Friesa di Nizza N
Brachetto N. Verduzzo Trevigiano B
Cabernet Sauvignon N. Tocai Friulano B
Chardonnay B. Raboso Veronese.N
Chatus N. Bianchetta Veronese B
Ciliegiolo N. Bianchetta Tevigiano B
Cortese B. Prosecco. B
Croatina N. Enanto N
Dolcetto N. Franconia N
Doux d'Henry N. Trebbiano Toscano.B
Erbaluce B. Aglianico N
Favorita B. Carignano N.
Friesa N. Neretto di Bairo N
Gamay N. Alicante N
Grignolino N. Montepulciano N.
Malvasia nera lunga N. Schiava grossa N.
Malvasia di Casorzo N. Gamay N
Malvasia di Schierano N. Syrah N
Merlot N. Moscato giallo. B
Moscato bianco B. Moscato Rosa R
Muller Thurgau B. Lambrusco Maestri N
Grechettto N Canaiolo B.
Neretto di Bairo N. Bombino B
Pinot bianco B. Bombino N
Pinot Grigio G. Corvina Nera N
Pinot Nero N. Durasca (Dolcetto di Boca) N.
Catarrato N. Portugieser N
Primitivo N. Petit Arvine N
Incrocio Manzoni. N. Bonarda Piemontese N
Pignola Nera N Veltlimer Fruhrot N
Colorino Nero N. Avanà N
Rebo Nero N Pelaverga N
Bosco Nero N Peleverga piccolo N
Carica l'Asino N Avrengo N
Teroldego Nero N Alicante Bouschet N
Pampanuto N Cataratto comune B
Malvasia Istriana N Pignola Nera N
Pollera 1 N Petit Verdot N
Marzemino N Zweigelt N
Tocai Rosso N Schiava Gentile N.
Bussanello B Riesling Renano B
Negretto N Sylvaner Verde B
Lumassina N Albarossa N
Neretta Cinese N Nero d'Avola N
Schiava N Brocciola N
Rossese N Canina N
Baco Nero N Cannonau N
Albarola N Crovassa N
Pigato B Uva di Troia N
Cormalim 1 N Maiolica N
Pelaverga (di Pagno) N Refosco da Peduncolo Rosso N
Pecorino N Brunello N
Croatina N Nero Buono N
Torbato B Neyret N
Grill B Nebbiolo (Michet)N
Gargiulo N Nebbiolo (Lampia) N
Nebbiolo ( Bolla) N
Nebbiolo ( Rosè) N
It should be fun, even for our Italian friends to try figuring out how many varieties have passed through their palate. To the best of my knowldege this wine has the blend of a maximum number of varietals, in my experience. To know more about this wine or others in their bag, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have tasted some wine with more varietals, do share with us and our viewers.