Good stuff tends to happens when you take a different path. It’s how it happened for us with Trebbiano. Actually not that Trebbiano is a single grape variety you understand. It isn’t. Infact there are multiple Italian varieties with this ‘prefix’. Surprise surprise !
Of the many others, there appears to be no immediate family relationship. Although, stop the lights… word has it that Trebbiano Spoletino and Trebbiano Abruzzese may, we repeat ‘may’, have a DNA link, as yet not proved. Where would we be without the awesome work of ampelographers and ampelologists, botanists and grape geneticists. Special shout out to the Go-To Grape Guru Josè Vouillamoz.
Infact, to our Homer Simpson-esque eye, the only ‘common’ characteristic that can immediately be attributed to Trebbianos, is that all their respective grapes make WHITE WINES! There are, as yet, no recorded red varieties. Any takers ? ;)
The pleasure and reward of discovery surely comes from setting aside all preconceptions before entering the tasting jungle. We’re firm advocates of sip first and learn later.
Afterall, as we’ve said before, one mans ‘Vino da Tavola’ is very often another mans Oenological Treasure. And who doesn’t like surprises?
Like our recent introductory encounter with Trebbiano
Modenese : a native to Modena that can turn out both vinegar and classic sparklers of sublime excellence!
You see that’s how Trebbianos have begun to grab our attention. There’s no shortage of surprises. Skipping a beat for us on this occasion are the aforementioned Trebbiano Spoletino and Trebbiano Abruzzese.
Native to Umbria and Abruzzo respectively, be prepared to have your ‘white’ socks knocked off.
°EYE: Bright light straw coloured with as expected a youthful green reflection
°NOSE: The initial aroma is surprisingly intense, floral and fruit filled. The flowers are delicate white with citrus and a little tropical fruit, of which banana makes an intriguing bow. Creamy.
°PALATE: Dry medium body, medium acidity with a pleasing mineral twist. And this minerality holds and persists well on the tongue. Ok, so the fruit doesn’t mirror the intensity of the nose. But that said, all in all this makes for a very pleasant native white indeed. A worthy daily!
°EYE: Much richer, deeper, straw colour when compared to the Abruzzese. Also exhibits a light green youthful glint.
°NOSE: Very intense, almost aromatic with, dare we say, Sauvignon-like green/grassy/herbal notes. A nice hint of tarragon. Floral notes too prevail including honeysuckle, yellow rose with citrus fruit plus a touch of Quince. Beguiling stuff. Through the richness some light stonefruit and again that creamy feel suggesting lees contact.
°PALATE: Dry, medium to full body, medium acidity with again a pronounced minerality. Good structure and balance make this Spoletino a quality proposition, with evolutionary potential to boot. At least we’d love to give it a year or two to see what happens next. That stoney, even smokey, mineral framework does impress.
Well, the consensus on the etymology of TREBBIANO is that there isn’t one. Not really. No-one knows for sure the roots of this 9 letter word. Even the great ‘OBI WAN’ of Native Wine Grapes of Italy, Ian D’Agata, suggests we can but speculate. We sure as heck won’t venture any serious conjecture, except to agree with Ian.
Paraphrasing, it’s most likely the name TREBBIANO was historically attached by those seeking to add value, notoriety and/or regional identity to their local grape. The fact that someone may have inked an incorrect moniker a few hundred years back, honestly matters little. To ERR is to be human, right? And sure mistakes always form the creative furrow in which learning thrives.
In the end, this tasting has brought us to reconsider all TREBBIANO grapes in an unexpected light. Apart from making ‘white wines’, these prefixed, ‘mostly’ yellow skinned berries, demonstrate a second more palate defining thread – Quality, and yes we’re gonna run with a capital Q ;)
Who knows, maybe we just got lucky with our first picks. Either way, to resign ourselves to follow the old rap that TREBBIANOS are ONLY fit for inexpensive table wines would surely be to miss the beat of their true potential.
Life is full of surprises.
And with whatever TREBBIANO ‘XYZ’ you’ve got in hand, we reckon there’s a good chance you might just Surprise Yourself.
Cheers JACK !