The Trebbiano grape is one of the most widely planted grapes in the entire world, particularly in Italy and also in France, where it’s actually called Ugni Blanc. It’s a white grape that tends to be slightly dry, medium-bodied, and has a medium-high tannin and is used for things like brandy and vinegar because it doesn’t have any overwhelming characteristics. The taste of a Trebbiano can differ based on the region it comes from and what part of the “family” it is connected to.
For the most part, a Trebbiano is refreshing and slightly citrusy, although not too intense which also makes it very complementary to many foods. Balsamic vinegar is made from the juices of the Trebbiano grape which ferment and age slowly in barrels which creates the sweet, sticky texture of authentic Balsamic.
There are actually many varieties of this grape which is confusing because genealogically, there are some distant relationships between Trebbiano and other varietals, one of which being the Trebbiano Toscano. It’s currently only sanctioned in 85 of the 300 DOCs in Italy but only three DOCGs, meaning 85 places in Italy classify it as Italian wine but only three provide the additional guarantee about its location and production method.
The Toscano part of the name means this is a Trebbiano grape that comes from Tuscany, Italy, however, a large portion of the growing and producing of this wine is now done in France, particularly in the Cognac region. It’s said that the Trebbiano grape was introduced to the French back in the 14th century because of the papal court and that since then, it’s become less popular on the Mediterranean side of France although it thrives on the Atlantic side.
A study was done by a university in Milan to determine whether the other varietals that are close to the Trebbiano are actually part of the same family and it turns out that although they are genetically identical, many of the varietals from other regions are not truly related, including our friend from Toscano.
You can find Trebbiano Toscano and all of its half-brothers and sisters in many wine shops around the world, including right here in the United States. Try out some from separate regions and see if you notice anything different!
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