Italian Indigenous Varieties: Casetta Nera

As indigenous varieties, all are somewhat obscure to most people, some like Casetta Nera though, are unknown to almost everyone. This particular red grape variety comes from the Vallagarina valley. The top part of this valley is located in the Trentino-Alto Adige while the lower portion is part of the province of Verona. Apparently the grape variety has been cultivated in that area for centuries although never present in great quantities. Research has shown that the variety probably developed from the genus, Vitis vinifera silvestris.

While I couldn’t find the names of any wines made from the variety, I did find that it had been the subject, together with another grape variety Enantio, of an entire conference on indigenous grapes some years ago. In the past it has erroneously been called Lambrusco but DNA finds show that the two are totally unrelated.

Apparently the Vallagarina valley is of glacial origin. I am currently fascinated by the impact of glacial origins on soils and the grapes that grow in these areas. I also feel that it is a subject which must be studied immediately before we lose our glaciers to global warming. For a client not in the wine business, I am currently reading an incredible book about climate change called Fixing Climate.

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