Wine lovers know that in every bottle you can enjoy a magnificent and unique experience, to stimulate the palate and our other senses. In many cultures, wine is part of the daily diet, as food is accompanied by glass to enhance the flavors and enjoy even more the pleasure of eating.
There is no doubt that a good wine depends on many factors, the harvest, the soil, and even the barrel where it is stored. This gives rise to a great variety of wines based on their sweet or dry taste, months or years of aging, but the fundamental factor to giving color, flavor, and even texture, depends especially on the type of grape. It is presumed that there are more than 1,368 types of grapes for wine, which give it flavor, aroma, and special properties.
Grapes specially destined to be wine grapes are called “vinifera grapes”, they are more acidic and generally less sweet than table grapes. Within the wide variety of vinifera grapes, we can find the Grechetto grape, which is characteristic for giving the wine delicate aromas of fruits, nuts, tropical fruits, and the aromas of flowers, depending on the type of Grechetto variety with which the wine is made. In addition, these grapes produce wines with a characteristic yellow color with greenish reflections, and even some with very intense golden yellow tones, although it will always depend on whether the wine is fully matured or fermented in barrels.
Although different types of Grechetto grapes can produce different wines, before mentioning the most important ones, you must know a little more about this particular grape.
Of mysterious origins…
Even though this grape is harvested in Italy, especially in Umbria, Orvieto, and Todi. This special grape for white wine originates from Greece. Hence the origin of its name “Grechetto”, since that is how the large family of grapes used to make wine in the Middle Ages were known and were imported to southern Italy through the Greek Manga.
It is believed that this grape was brought to Italy by the settlers who spread throughout the length and breadth of the Greek Manga. However, its origins are unclear and mysterious, as is the case with many native vines. Therefore, its history is quite limited and is only based on speculation, since there are no writings to confirm it. The only thing confirmed is that in the central part of Italy, two of the clones of this grape are produced in greater quantity. The Orvieto grechetto, and the Todi grechetto, actually have the same genetic composition as the pignoletto that grows in the Bolognese hills.
DNA analyses have shown that there is a close relationship between the Orvieto Grechetto and the Todi Grechetto, however, without being able to establish with certainty a parent-child derivation. From the vine’s point of view, Todi Grechetto has an earlier ripening period than Orvieto Grechetto.
Characteristics of wine made from Grechetto grapes
This grape is used to produce a wide variety of white wines and even some sparkling wines that in most cases coincide in some descriptions because they are the product of the same grape. Some of its general characteristics are:
Generally, wines from this grape are pale yellow with greenish reflections.
If the wine is fermented or matured in barrels, it can reach an intense yellow color.
For its part, the taste can become very varied, it can enjoy good structure, with a harmonious sip on the palate, low acidity after tasting, and a finish with a slight almond flavor. But the variety of this wine can also vary in flavor if it is aged in wood, as this increases the vanilla and toasted flavor, and at the same time, increases the smoothness and structure of the wine.
Given the great variety and the different places where these grapes are harvested, the aroma characteristics can be very varied:
- Fruity aroma. Pear and apple.
- Nutty aroma. Hazelnuts.
- Tropical fruit aroma. Banana, Pineapple, Grapefruit, and Kiwi.
- Aroma of flowers. Hawthorn, Retama, Manzanilla, and Acacia.
In addition, given their low acidity levels, it is recommended that the grapes are not harvested late, as this increases the softness in the wine and only provides subtle characteristics.
Grechetto grape varieties.
This grape has two clones that can be found with a wide variety of names throughout the Italian territory from which a large number of wines are produced. The first clone is Grechetto di Todi and the second is Grechetto di Orvieto.
The Grechetto di Todi grape, also commonly known as pignoletto, can be found under the following synonyms: Aglionzina, Alionzina, Grechetto Gentile, Grechetto, Pignoletto, Greco bianco di Rogliano, Greek friendly, one-Eye, Pallagrella white, Pallagrello bianco, Pallagrello of Avellino, Pallagrello of Caserta, Pallarella, Piedimonte white, pignotella white, Pignoletto bolognese grapes, pignolino, Pignolo, Puncinculo, Rebola, Ribolla Rimini, Strozzavolpe, Grilli.
This grape can be distinguished thanks to its medium-sized leaf, which is also elongated, pentagonal, trilobate, and, in some cases, pentalobate or entire, with a bulbous or wrinkled upper page, of intense green color. The cluster is usually of medium or small size, cylindrical or cylindrical-conical. While the berry is of medium size, oval, with medium pruinose skin, thin, consistent, and yellowish.
Its ripening time is usually at the end of September without extending until October.
On the other hand, the Grechetto di Orvieto grape can be found with the following synonyms: Piedmont Greek, Grecherello, Grechetto, Grechetto, nostrale, Grechetto, artisan, Greek, Greek white Perugia, Greek spoleto, Montarino white, Manotanaro, one-Eye, pistil, Pizzinculo, Pocinculo, Pulga, Pulcinculo, Pulcinculo white, Pulcinculu, Pulcinella, Stroppa Fox, Strozza, Fox, Strozzavolpe, Uva di San Marino.
Unlike Grechetto di Todi, this variety of Grechetto has the following characteristics: pentagonal leaf, longer than wide, arachnoid upper page, light green color. Like the previous one, the cluster is medium-sized, long, but almost cylindrical. The berries are medium-sized, slightly ellipsoidal, with pruinose skin, thick and golden greenish-yellow.
Its ripening time goes from the end of September to the beginning of October.
In terms of location, this grape spreads along the center of the Italian territory, especially in Umbria, followed by Lazio, Tuscany, and Marche. The cultivation of Grechetto is also widespread in several places in the province of Perugia, Terni, Arezzo, and more rarely in some areas of the Marche and the province of Siena. While pignoletto bolognese is grown in the province of Bologna and neighboring provinces.
The best part of knowing the origin and the great qualities of the Grechetto grape is undoubtedly knowing which wines we can find on the market whose composition, aroma, and taste are given by these grapes. As expected, Grechetto grapes yield white wines, with a pale yellowish tint and green flashes. Most of these wines have a notable body and are fairly tannic and acidic. The aromas and flavors given may vary. Below, some of the best recommendations when it comes to Grechetto wines.
- Castelfranco Emilia Bianco Secco. A highly acidic choice, it has notes of plantain, apple, and pear. Ideal to serve with cold cuts on the side.
- «Il Righetto» Pignoletto DOC Modena Secco. A wine with a great body and an aroma reminiscent of acacia and linden. A great fit for cold dishes, as well as preparations that include fish.
- Pignoletto DOC Senzatempo. A light foamy wine that, when stored at a certain temperature, will keep the yeasts inside active. It has the pleasant smell of bread crust. Perfect for pairing with roasted white meats.
- Pignoletto DOC Spumante Brut. A marvelous wine characterized by the foam it produces when poured, with great body and tannic qualities. Ideal as an appetizer.
- Pignoletto DOC Reno Secco. With a lighter foam than the former wine, this wine is characterized by its strong bouquet of ripe pear and apple. Great for accompanying salads and cheese.
- Grechetto dei Colli Martani DOC 2013 Antonelli. Pale yellow wine with notes of apricot, hawthorn, and almond. Great for pairing with main courses.
- Anima Umbra Grechetto Bianco IGT 2010 Arnaldo Caprai. It is a hybrid wine in composition: made in its majority (85%) out of Grechetto grapes, with the remaining 15% belonging to the Trebbiano Spoletino variant. As a result, it has a delicate but persistent floral bouquet, it is dry to taste and slightly acidic. Great for legume-based soups.
Although its origins are somewhat uncertain, there is no doubt that the Grechetto grape has spread throughout central Italy. And that it also gives us the possibility of obtaining delicious wines with amazing aromatic characteristics.
These wines are an excellent combination for your meals and even an excellent aperitif because of their delicate and sublime taste that will undoubtedly whet your appetite. They can work in perfect harmony with nuts, cheeses, and even some fruits, although with almost any food they will make a perfect match. The most important thing is to serve it chilled and enjoy the whole tasting experience.
In the wine world, the grape represents the canvas on which wine is designed and created. The Grechetto grape gives us a great variety of wines that we can enjoy at any time of the day and with any companion. A landscape of unparalleled flavor.