Italian Indigenous Varieties: Caricagiola Nero & Carica L’Asino Bianco

While I have been trying to write this column on Mondays, events overtook me yesterday and I wasn’t able to do it so rather than wait another week, I am writing on a Tuesday, a day I usually reserve for the Wine of the Week.

The first two varieties, one red and one white, are almost unknown even in Italy, both may have gotten their start in Liguria and then migrated to other regions.Caricagiola to Sardinia and Carica l’asino to Piedmont. Both are used exclusively as blending grapes in local table wines. Carica l’Asino has a funny name and it may be related to the Vermentino-Pigato family of grapes. Apparently also considered a workhorse grape, Asino which means donkey was considered an appropriate moniker. Carica l’asino is usually blended with Cortese, Timorasso, Barbera Bianca e sometimes with Moscato.

While you may never find wines made from this grapes, it’s interesting to note just how many varieties Italy has in its inventory.

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