There are more than 3000 registered Italian grape varieties and many say there are as many as 15,000 varieties. Whatever the exact number is, I have begun a grape variety series on indigenous Italian varietals. I am learning and relearning many wonderful things as I work my way through the alphabet and
remember wonderful trips I have taken around Italy. One of my all time favorite restaurants is in Monterosso, Ciak. While it looks very touristy, they have the best fish ravioli I have ever eaten in over 15 years living in Italy and 20 years going there on a regular basis. Needless to say, try them at the very least.
The most recent piece I wrote is about, Albarola, one of the local grape varieties from Cinque Terre, the area of Liguria famous for its beauty.
Liguria is a long and thin region which borders on France in the West and runs to Tuscany in the East. Renowned for its extremely picturesque landscapes and closely huddled mountain towns, Liguria also produces a number of DOC wines. The wines from the Cinque Terre or five towns have been famous for centuries. They were mentioned by both Petrarch and Boccaccio. The five towns, Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore are all connected by intricate walking paths and are a favorite with Italian and international tourists. Viticulture in this area is done by hand without the use of tractors. The vines tend to grow on terraces on small plots of land. While they are beautiful to the eye, it makes for very difficult planting and harvesting.
Among the wines are a dry white named Cinque Terre DOC and the dessert version of this wine called Sciacchetra’. Albarola is one of the local grape varieties which is part of the blend that produces these two wines. The other two varieties in the blend are Bosco and Vermentino. Albarola is a small grape which is light bodied and somewhat neutral in flavor when it is young. There are more than 20 synonyms for this grape variety including Calcalella, Temosci, and Madea. As the wines made with this grape mature, they take on honey, floral and perfume aromas. In order to read the rest of this story, check out the Altacucina website.