White Varieties

Indigenous Italian White Grape Varieties

Albana: Mostly planted in Emilia Romagna, it is a thick-skinned grape which expresses itself well in sweet wines. 

Albarola: Commonly present in Liguria in Golfo del Tigullio and Cinque Terre, it is also found in the North Coast of Tuscany.

Ansonica: It is a grape found in the Elba and Giglio Island in Tuscany. It is also planted in Sicily where it is known as Inzonia and it is used in the Marsala blend.

Arneis (ahr NASE): One of the most important Italian White grape varieties in Piemonte. Its nickname is Nebbiolo Bianco and unfortunately it is not so easy to grow. It needs some tender loving care especially during harvest time.

Asprinio: It is a grape that grows in Campania, northern than Naples, close to the city of Caserta. Its name derives from the Latin Asper, which means tart, and it is often used in sparkling wines thanks to its acidity.

Bellone: It is only present in Lazio, in the Castelli Romani and also on the coast next to Anzio, Nettuno, and Cori. It is rare today, despite the fact that the grape itself being a great variety.

Biancame: Also known as Bianchello thanks to the most known wine made from it, Bianchello del Metauro. It grows in the Marche, around Urbino and Pesaro but it is also present in Emilia-Romagna as a blending grape in Colli di Rimini.

Bianco d’Alessano: It is a grape native of Puglia (Apulia) that is mainly found close to the towns of Cisternino, Locorotondo, and Martina Franca. As it buds early, it can be exposed to spring frosts and coulure.

Biancolella: It is definately a grape who loves the sea. It can be found on the Ischia Island (Campania) and along Amalfi and Sorrento Coast, but also farther North close to Caserta.

Biancone: It is another grape that love living on an island. It can be found in Elba in Tuscany. It is rare and it can be used in some IGTs like Costa Toscana and Toscana.

Bombino Bianco: It is a native grape of Puglia and it is getting more known in the market so that it is also planted in Abruzzo, in Lazio and in Emilia- Romagna. Its wines can be creamy and fresh with aromas of white flowers and peach and hints of almond. Bombino Nero also exists but they are not related.

Bosco: It is found in Liguria, in the Cinque Terre. It is called “a red grape in white clothing”: it gives full-bodied wines and it is used also to make delicious sweet wines.

Carricante: It is associated with Mount Etna where 95% of all the vineyards is planted. It is an amazing grape that lives on a volcano at extremely high altitudes (over 1000 mt), a real warrior.

Catarratto Bianco: It is the second most common Italian white variety, after Glera. It grows in Sicily and it is also part of the blend of Marsala DOC.

Cococciola: it is mostly planted in Abruzzo and it is getting more popular now as the producers are valorizing it instead of anonymously blending it with the Trebbiano d’Abruzzo.

Coda di Volpe Bianca: It is one of the white grape varieties in Campania. The name translate as “Fox’s tail” and it referred to the shape of its bunches that are long and curled.

Cortese (cor TAE sae):It is grown in Piedmont and it is the grape of the famous Gavi DOCG. It can be found also in Lombardy and in Veneto.

Durella: it is a grape with a hard skin, and this is reason of its name (duro in Italian means hard). It is present in Veneto, very famous in a small area called Mount Lessini, among Vicenza and Verona. It can be found also in Lombardy and Tuscany.

Erbaluce: it is a variety of Piedmont. In the 1800 literature, this grape was well regarded and then somehow it was “kept secret” in the Northern part of the region in the 1900. Nowadays, it is becoming more and more popular again.

Falanghina: It is one of the most ancient and most known grapes of Campania. Its name derives from the Latin Phalanx, a military formation of Roman soldiers.

Fiano (fee AH no): it grows in Campania and it is considered one of the best among the Italian white grape varieties. Nonetheless, it was almost lost till a producer brought it back to life in 1945. Its most famous wine is Fiano di Avellino DOCG.

Forastera: like Biancolella, this grape is found almost exclusively in the Island of Ischia (Campania). Its name means foreigner.

Garganega (gar GAH nae ga)one of the most important grape in Italy, it is the main component of the Soave DOCG. Garganega seems to like Vulcanic soils a lot. There are many biotypes of Garganega, like for example the Grecanico Dorato in Sicily, and the grape is related to many other important variety.

Glera: Nowadays it is the most planted white variety in Italy thanks to the popularity of Prosecco. It is cultivated in Veneto: in particular in the Treviso province, there are the 2 most important DOCG areas: Conegliano Valdobbiadene and Asolo. It is also present in Friuli Venezia Giulia.

Grechetto: it reffers actually to 2 different grapes: Grechetto di Orvieto and Grechetto di Todi (which is also called Pignoletto). Can this be more confusing? Just remember that the grapes are found in Umbria and Emilia-Romagna.

Greco (GRAE co): it is planted mainly in Campania but also in some areas of Puglia and Tuscany. Greco is the name of the grape, while Greco di Tufo is the name of the wine.

Grillo: it grows in Sicily. It is a natural crossing of Catarratto Bianco Lucido and Moscato di Alessandria.

Malvasia (mahl vah SEE ah): The largest group of Italian White Grape Varieties with 11 grapes bearing the same name. Actually in the Italian Official Registry, there are also 7 Malvasia Nera (red), and 1 Rose’.

Malvasia Bianca di Candia: It is the most widely planted Malvasia in Italy and it is found mainly in wines from Lazio but it is also present in many other regions, like Umbria, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Marche Puglia, and Tuscany.

Malvasia Bianca Lunga: it grows in Tuscany and it is famous for being included in the original Chianti recipe by the Barone Ricasoli. Nowadays, the white varieties can’t be used in the Chianti anymore and this Malvasia is part of the blend of the Vin Santo, together with the Trebbiano Toscano.

Malvasia del Lazio: As the name says it comes from Lazio, and it is also known as Malvasia puntinata for its spotted berries when ripe (puntini is spots in Italian). It is a natural crossing between Schiava Grossa and Moscato d’Alessandria, which gives a ligthly aromatic character.

Malvasia di Candia Aromatica: it grows in Lombardy and in Emilia Romagna, in the provinces of Pavia, Piacenza,  Parma, and Reggio.

Malvasia di Lipari: It is limited to a small group of Sicilian islands called Eolie in which Lipari is the biggest one. The best expressions of this grape is in dessert wines like the famous Malvasia delle Lipari DOC. Studies suggested that Malvasia di Lipari is identical to Malvasia di Sardegna and to the Greco Bianco in Calabria.

Malvasia Istriana: Istria is a peninsula in Croatia which was part of Italy before WWII. This grape is cultivated in Friuli Venezia Giulia but it is part of a DOC in Veneto and one in Tuscany and it can be planted also in Emilia-Romagna, Abruzzo and Sardinia.

Montonico Bianco: It is present in Abruzzo, Marche, Puglia and in the Southern East part of Calabria. It is usually used in blends.

Moscato Bianco (moh SKAH toh): it is the most abundant of the grapes in the Moscato family and it has become an internationally known and planted variety. The majority of the Moscato Bianco is found in Piedmont in the Asti area, but it is planted also Tuscany and Sicily.

Moscato Giallo: this aromatic grape is grown in the North-East of Italy, in Veneto, in Friuli Venezia Giulia, Trentino and Alto-Adige, where there are wines 100% Moscato Giallo.

Nascetta: it is the only white variety truly native to the Langhe. In the past years many producers created very interesting wines with it and Nascetta became popular.

Nosiola: it is one of the most well know grape varieties from Trentino. It gives dry, and sweet wines.

Nuragus: it grows in Sardinia and its name is very similar to Nuraghe, the ancient megalithic structures dated in the Nuragic Age (1900- 730 B.C.) which are the symbol of this region.

Pallagrello Bianco: another white variety from Campania. It is found in the area above Caserta.

Passerina: it is one of the Italian White Grape varieties whose name recalls an animal. “Passero/Passerina” in Italian means Sparrow. It is mainly cultivated in Abruzzo and Marche.

Pecorino: Like Passerina, also Pecorino has an animal name. Pecora is sheep in Italian. And like Passerina, also Pecorino is planted in Abruzzo and Marche.

Picolit: It is one of the most ancient Italian grape varieties. It is cultivated in Friuli Venezia Giulia and it is mostly known for the sweet wines.

Pigato: It grows on the Western part of the Ligurian Coast. It is genetically identical to Vermentino of Sardegna but the producers in Liguria swear that it is not 😉

Pinot Bianco(pee noh bee AHN coh): it is mostly planted in Alto Adige for the still wine version and also in Lombardy, in the Franciacorta Area, for the sparkling wines.

Pinot Grigio(pee noh GREE joe): As you know, Pinot is not a native grape of Italy but it is one of the most planted so we can’t avoid talking about it. The heart of the Pinot Grigio production is the area called “Delle Venezie” which includes Veneto, Trentino, and Friuli Venezia Giulia) 

Prié Blanc: it is a native grape of Valle d’Aosta and it is planted in some of the highest vineyards in Europe. The name comes from the French verb Prier which means to pray as this was the wine used in the Sunday Mass.

Ribolla Gialla: it is a typical grape from Friuli Venezia Giulia, with high acidity and a hint of white pepper at the nose. Often used to make orange wines.

Riesling*: Although this aromatic grape is not native of Italy (it is German), it is widely planted in the North of Italy, especially in Alto Adige where the population speaks also German. It can be Renano and Italico.

Timorasso: It is a variety found in Piedmont in the area of Colli Tortonesi. It is not easy to grow but now few producers are keeping it alive, as the wines are age-worthy and very interesting at the nose.

Tocai Friulano (toh KYE free oo LAH no): it is the most iconic grape of Friuli Venezia Giulia. Although the wine can be called just Friulano, the grape still bears the name Tocai. In Veneto, it is known as Tocai Italico.

Trebbiano (trehb bee AH noh): it represents a group of varieties that share the same name but they are not genetically related.

Trebbiano Abruzzese: As the name tells, this variety grows in Abruzzo. Unfortunately it is often confused in the vineyards with Trebbiano Toscano, and Bombino Bianco, so in reality it is just a minority in the wine production.

Trebbiano Romagnolo: It is concentrated in Emilia-Romagna and it goes along with Trebbiano Toscano. Although some experts say that the variety is higher in quality of the Tuscan version, the wines are not giving satisfying results.

Trebbiano Toscano: one of the most widely planted white variety in Italy. It can be found in Tuscany (of course!), in Veneto, in Marche, and in Umbria. 

Verdea: In its native Tuscany, Verdea is know as Colombana or Colombana Bianca. This grape can also be found in many blends in Lombardy and Emilia Romagna. 

Verdeca: As the name suggests, this grape berries have greenish hues. It is mainly planted in Puglia, and Campania.

Verdicchio (ver DEEK kee oh): A great grape giving highly age-worthy wines. Its mostly know area of cultivation is Marche (Castelli di Jesi and Matelica) but it is widely planted also in Veneto where it is called Trebbiano di Soave and it is part of many appellations, among which Lugana DOC and the Soave DOC.

Verdiso: Another grape variety called after the green color of its berries. It grows in Veneto, especially in the countrysides of Conegliano, and Valdobbiadene near Treviso.

Verduzzo Friulano: it is found in Friuli Venezia Giulia but also in Veneto. Its most famous wine is Ramandolo DOCG.

Vermentino (ver men TEE noh): It is the most famous white variety of Sardinia, also planted on the Tuscan Coast. In Piedmont, the same variety is known with the name “Favorita”.

Vernaccia di Oristano (ver NAHTCH cha): It is cultivated in the province of Oristano in Sardinia. The name refers both to the grape and the wine that is produced.

Vernaccia di San Gimignano: As the name suggests, it is found around the town of San Gimignano in Tuscany. The name refers both to the grape and the wine.

Vespaiola: Its name comes from an animal: Vespa is wasp in Italian and these insects are very attracted by the sweetness of this grape. It is mainly found in the province of Vicenza, in Veneto, where it is used for still, sparkling and sweet wines.

Vitovska: it is predominantely found in the Carso area of Friuli Venezia Giulia. The name is of Slovenian origin.

Zibibbo (Moscato di Alessandria): It is found in Sicily and it is very resistant to draught and wind, so it is cultivated in the small Island of Pantelleria where it is used to produce the amazing Passito di Pantelleria DOC.

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