Italian Indigenous Varieties: Chasselas Dorato Bianco

Chasselas is a grape variety that is mostly associated with Switzerland although it has been in Italy for decades and some consider it to be a relative of a grape brought to Switzerland by the Romans called “Aminea.” While the white version of Chasselas is the one that has been used in wines in Italy, the variety has produced both red and white offspring that have been strewn throughout Europe. Chasselas is now considered by some experts to be one of the parent grapes of Muller Thurgau. Often it is used as a table grape. In Italy it has largely been seen in the province of Lombardy in the San Colombano DOC, even though it is not mentioned “disciplinare” o “legislative rules for the denominazione d’origine controllata (DOC).”

I wrote this long piece some years ago on my adopted city of Milan and its’ only DOC wine – San Colombano al Lambro. These are the kinds of wines you would taste at the local Sagre on the weekend, a part of my Italian life I sorely miss. I’ve had a lot of bland Chasselas in my life traveling to Switzerland. Perhaps I will have the opportunity in November to travel to Bern for the Balzan Prize ceremony, a client of my other business and find some delicious Chasselas. I certainly hope so.

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