Italian Indigenous Varieties: Dolciame Bianco (Umbria), Doux d’Henry and Durasa (Piedmont)


Rather than discuss the exciting events of last night’s James Beard Awards which I attended for the first time, I am going to continue down my own path and write about this week’s Italian indigenous grape varieties. I am putting three varieties together not because they are related but because of limited information on each one of them.

Dolciame Bianco is a white grape variety from Umbria, specifically the province of Perugia. It is said to be used in winemaking not as a table grape and that it produces a white wine with low alcohol content. I have never tasted an example of this variety.

The second variety is called Doux d’Henry nero and it grows in Piedmont.This grape is thought to originally hail from France. It is a red grape that is used in a denominazione d’origine controllata (D.O.C.) wine from the area of Pinerolo in Piedmont. I even found a winery that uses the grape called Cantina Dora Renato di Frossaco . Pinerolo is located in the Northwestern part of Piedmont. Doux d’Henry is a grape that has often been used as a table grape, perhaps even more than for vinification.

The third grape variety for this week is Durasa nero, another grape variety from Piedmont. This red grape has been used both as a table grape and for vinification. Again, not widely used, it is considered one of the minor varieties in the region.

Why continue to write about all of these random grapes one might ask? The answer is simple, I am interested in showing the breadth and depth of Italian viticulture. Additionally, I love when I discover a grape that had been resuscitated and is being cultivated anew.

So bear with me, we only have one more variety that starts with the letter “D” and then can move on to those with the letter “E”. Thus far I have written about 94 Italian indigenous grape varieties, we have a long way to go…

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