Friday, 8 September 2017


Nice lady with good wine selection at the Norcineria in Castiglione del Lago, Umbria

In Umbria, on a search for the elusive Cornetta grape as described by Ian D'Agata in 'Native Wine Grapes of Italy.'

This estimable book is an essential item on any journey to Italy. In order to obtain the only monovariatal example of Cornetta, D'Agata redirects us to something called Vernaccia di Cannara. This wine is made by the important Umbrian producer Di Filippo. It was as a way around bureaucratic and commercial restraints that they came up with this name instead of Cornetta.

Vernaccia di Cannara/Cornetta is not the same as Vernaccia Nera which is a grape celebrated in this blog from early on (see Vernaccia di Serrapetrona). The name Vernaccia DAgata says  comes from the Latin Vernaculum which means 'local.' He points out there are many Vernaccias in Italy - none of them Guarnaccia/Grenache and all unrelated to eachother. he writes 'maybe I could have called this book Vernacular Wine Grapes of Italy.'

How 'Vernaculum' finally emerged in Spain as 'Garnacha' and how that variety went on to become the 2nd most planted red variety in the world, and why there is no grape called Guarnaccia grown in Italy but plenty of Vernaccias (white and red) is one of those unfathomable grape mysteries. Where Garnacha is grown in Italy (brought by the Spaniards at the time of their domination of Sicily and Southern Italy) it is called something else such as Cannonau or Tocai (Tai) Rosso. The name Guarnaccia Nera does occur but that is a synonym for Magliocco. there is also a Guarnaccino but that is something else altogether.

Apart from Cornetta being sold as Vernaccia di Cannara, Umbria contains another false friend: Gamay Perugino aka. Gamay di Trasimeno. This intrigued us initially but something was not right. Alcohol levels of 14% and 14.5% didn't suggest wines from the preternaturally light Gamay although we have seen beefy examples of Gamay from the New World.

Gamay Perugino/Gamay del Trasimeno is in fact another example of

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