Italian Indigenous Varieties: Nosiola

Today’s Italian variety is called Nosiola bianco. It comes from the Trentino area which is pictured above, around the city of Trento. Mentioned in texts as early as the 1600s, the grape is made in two distinct styles, still and sweet.

A white grape that produces wines that are elegant and refined with hints of salinity, mineral notes, and a taste of hazelnuts called Nocciola in Italy.

I have been lucky enough to taste this grape in both the still and sweet styles at Vinitaly years ago. I tried ones brought in my friends at Tradizione Imports.

The winery called Azienda Agricola Salvetta iproduced a gorgeous version of the Vino Santo Trentino DOC. Located in the city of Madruzzo in Trentino, they have been organically certified since 2012. The grapes grow in three areas near the Sarca river. The soils are alluvial with gravel and the vines are trained in the guyot method on chestnut poles.

To make the Vino Santo Trentino, they pick the grapes late in the season and lay them down to dry racks called Arele for 5-6 months where they lose water and become affected by noble rot which further enhances the desiccation. The area kept healthy however by the constant wind that blow through the area The grapes lose about 80% of their weight.

The wine is traditionally dried and crushed during Easter week. The wines then age for up to five years in acacia barrels. It’s one of my absolute favorite sweet wines which is saying something because I love dessert wines of all kinds.

They also produce a drier version of the wine which is labeled Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT. This must rests on the skins for a wine and then goes directly into acacia barrels until the spring after harvest. It finishes with six months in stainless steel and 4 months in the bottle. Lush and complex this wine is also extremely interesting with similar saline, nutty, yeast, honey aromas and flavors. Expressive and exciting wines from this spectacular and unique grape from Trentino.

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