Calling all Iphone users & Italian Wine Fans – There’s a really cool little app for the Iphone from Gambero Rosso whereby you can search for Italian wines by grape. The results this app produces show only the wines from wineries who are in with Gambero Rosso and by no means represents all wineries who cultivate this grape, nor all wines that contain it. Nevertheless, this app provides information on wines made from over 250 grapes and should prove handy for grape hunters.
I have decided to go through that list, really just to educate and entertain myself and find out all I can about each of these 250 grapes. So, in true Sesame Street fashion, let us begin with the letter “A”.
As you may know, Italian Grapes are ridiculous, there are thousands of them and more are discovered every year, many more disappear forever but we don’t get to hear about those, they are simply, like the many unknown species that expire each day, lost in time… how sad.
Let us not lament on this upsetting fact for too long because the grapes that have been brought back from the brink or survive in small quantities are often wonderful discoveries, the Abbuoto grape is one such marvel. Abbuoto is actually one of many MIA grapes within Italy that is being closely studied by the Italian authorities to try to understand the origins of the grape. The vintners themselves are also making numerous studies and experiments are taking place at wineries in the Frosinone region where this grape was “re-found” to try to tease the best expression from the Abbuoto grape. It is not yet fully understood how best to tackle this grape and create wines that can truly appeal to the modern palate and move away from the simple rustic wines it can thus far muster. Abbuoto may not be capable of producing outstanding varietal wines, although producers like Terra delle Ginestre and Villa Matilde are using Abbuoto as the major part of a blend and producing 95 point scoring wines!
You’ll struggle to find wines made from the Abbuoto grape in the UK, though, thanks to the huge score for the Villa Matilde some stores are now showing an interest in wines produced from Abbuoto. It is an interesting grape whose heritage is hotly debated and incorrectly credited throughout 2000 years of history and for these two reasons alone is worth a closer look for an intrepid grape hunter.
The QT on the Abbuoto Grape?
Generally a grape for blending that can add a fair kick of alcohol to a wine, rarely does Abbuoto survive as a varietal wine alone. Historically this grape was thought to be the main ingredient in the Roman wine “Caecubum”, a wine mentioned numerous times by Horace. The Cecubo grape (a synonym for Abbuoto) was thought to be responsible for producing Caecubum, however this was a white wine, so historically Abbuoto should not be tied to Caecubum. It was also believed that Abbuoto could have been a natural Casavecchia and Piedirosso cross, but further investigation shows Abbuoto to be a parent of Casavecchia. So, as of 2013, we still don’t know the true origins of this grape.
What we do know, is that this little planted grape is capable of producing incredible wines. So incredible that the 2007 Villa Matilde “Cecubo” a blend of Abbuoto, Primitivo and Piedirosso grapes, scored 95 points with Antonio Galloni and is considered one of the best value wines of central Italy. Terre della Ginestra also produce a wine showcasing the potential of Abbuoto called “Il Generale” though I have never seen this wine in the UK or US.
The grape is closely associated with the Lazio town of Frosinone.
What are wines from the Abbuoto Grape like?
As a blending grape Abbuoto can offer depth, alcohol and colour. On its own, Abbuoto produces, at best, rustic wines (estate agent talk for rough) capable of moderate ageing with a maximum life of about 5 years. The grape is most commonly blended with Primitivo, Piedirosso & Negroamaro, as is the case with both Villa Matilde and Terra delle Ginestre, to produce wines of excellence.
Where can I buy wines from the Abbuoto Grape?
Fine and Rare are offering cases of the Villa Matilde Cecubo.
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Any experiences of Abbuoto?