A First Course in Wine: From Grape to Glass. Copyright 2013; Race Point Publishers, NY. 224 pages. Forward by Mario Batali.

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Get to Know Your Grapes: Raboso

The Veneto is one of Italy’s most productive wine regions, producing nearly 185,000,000 gallons of wine per year.  What

The Veneto in Northern Italy is one of the most productive wine growing regions in the country.

separates the Veneto from other mega-producing regions, such as Sicily and Puglia, is that many wines from the Veneto are still hand-crafted boutique items, whereas Sicily and Puglia provide much of the wine that is used either for blending purposes throughout Europe or intended for vermouth production.  That being said, with a plethora of wine to choose from, many of the more unique, and lesser-known varieties often get lost in the shuffle, such as Raboso.

Raboso, also called Negron, is indigenous to the Veneto and is used in a variety of blended wines such as Valpolicella and Bardolino.  The grape often adds complexity, fruit, and structure to these wines.  When it’s used to produce wine on its own,

Raboso bunches loungin' out during harvest

Raboso yields inky wines with high levels of tannin and raspberry fruit flavors.  It’s not uncommon to find Raboso being poured as the house wine in cafes in Venice and Murano.  In these quaint eateries, tourists can take a break from shopping for the latest in fashion and hand-blown glassware, and enjoy some of the Veneto’s numerous cheeses and wines.

In recent years, some producers have produced sparkling wines from Raboso, and the results, so far, have been successful.  These sparklers are often rich in strawberry fruits, but are still crisp and sharp with killer acidity, ideal for rich cheeses like Ubriaco or Taleggio.

In conclusion, Raboso is a fun and simple Italian wine, and although it’s a bit hard to find outside of Italy, wines produced from this funky variety rarely cross the $30 threshold in retail shops.  Look for Tessere’s 100% Raboso as an approachable starter to this grape  (Imported by Clyde Thomas).

2 comments to Get to Know Your Grapes: Raboso

  • Jeffrey peterson

    What are the best whites of Italy?

  • Some of my favorite white grapes are Cortese, Verdicchio, and Greco. Cortese grows in the Piemonte region. The grape is used to make the wine called, Gavi. Gavi is typically a crisp, sharp, lemon-flavored wine with aromas of herbs and lively acidity. Verdicchio grows on the east coast of Italy, and is used to make wine in and around the tows of Jesi and Matelica in the region of Le Marche. Verdicchio wines are usually lush and rich with flavors of peaches, pears, and saline undertones; ideal for the heavy sea-food soups and broths that are a staple of the eastern Italian diet. Greco is predominantly grown in the south, specifically in Campania. Wines produced from Greco are usually plump and full-bodied with tropical fruit flavors and notes of nuts and pine. All are excellent wines to accompany food, and are a great way to explore the the many wonders of indigenous Italian white grapes.

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