Italian Indigenous Varieties: Albarossa From Piedmont

Just when I thought I had finished all of the “A’s” in terms of Italian indigenous grape varieties for the dictionary I am doing on Alta Cucina’s website, I come upon a new one that I have never heard of, Albarossa. The grape was created in 1938 by Giovanni Dalmasso, a leading Italian enologist who died in the early 1960s.

The grape is a cross of two grape varieties from Piedmont: Nebbiolo and Barbera. Only a few producers grow the stuff, among them Michele Chiarlo, Prunotto and Fontanafredda.

I tried the Albarossa called Montald from Michele Chiarlo made from grapes grow in the Monferrato area where the soil is made up of small fossils and shells together with sand. The grape is designated a Monferrato Rosso DOC.

In terms of vinification, the grapes spend 12 days macerating on their skins in steel tanks. The wine then spends a minimum of 12 months in wooden barrels made from French oak from Allier, followed by six months in the bottle before it is sold on the market.

In terms of its tasting profile, I found the Albarossa to be somewhat acidic and fruity at the same time. I got more of the Barbera notes than the Nebbiolo ones on first flush but later found some of Nebbiolo’s floral notes such as violet and rose on the nose and palate. The wine was also more tannic than a Barbera and this is likely due to the Nebbiolo influence.

This wine would work well with light dishes of meat or pasta or even cheeses. I haven’t seen any of this on wine lists in the United States but I think it would work very well with the American palate that enjoys fruity wines.


    • Robert,
      Thank you for stopping by at Avvinare and letting me know about this wine that you have tasted in Virginia. I will look for it in New York City as well. I’m always interested to hear about new producers and new wines so thank you.

  1. I just had a bottle in Winchester from a friend that owns a restaurant It was fabulous l am trying to find it also

  2. The Castello di Uviglie Albarossa 1491 is imported and distributed by Siema Wines which is headquartered in Springfield, VA. See their website Contact them to find a retailer near you …. Enjoy!
    Tracy C.

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