I had never heard of this grape either, so don’t fret if you haven’t! Last week, I ran to my favorite wine shop to pick up a couple other items they had on hold for me (they are wonderful like that! I ask if they can get particular, obscure items, then they do and email me when they arrive!). They, like any good sales person, ask if I needed anything else (like I need more wine…but I can’t myself so I always glance around the shelves). They also know my love of interesting or unusual wines. They recommended this, along with a few others (but this is the first I have opened).
The reason this grape is quite unknown is, despite records having mentions of this grape back to the mid 14th century, the cultivation of the grape virtually ceased following phylloxera in the mid to late 1800s. By the year 2000, it was reported there were only TWO rows of grape producing vines remaining in existence! When this was discovered, it motivated a few local growers from the Romagna region to come together to propagate the vine in an effort of saving it from extinction. It became recognized as an official grape variety in 2009.
I greatly enjoy purchasing bottles of wine I know nothing about. The surprise is entertaining and fascinating to me. This bottle was so dark, I didn’t even know the color of the wine until I poured it! I typically pour my first glass of all wines at room temperature. This is because the aromatic properties in wine are most volatile at room temp. If the wine comes directly from the fridge, these properties are dulled. So, when I poured this, I instantly took note of white grapefruit and pineapple scents emanating from the glass. Then, the more subtle notes of gardenia and orange blossom made a cameo. It also has the laziest, tiny bubbles adhered to the base of my goblet. When I tasted this dry wine, the moderate level of acidity was refreshing but not overpowering. The tastes of white grapefruit, green apple, pineapple, orange blossom, white peach, and gardenia dawdled on the tongue for a couple wonderful minutes. Thankfully, this is a mere 12% alcohol, so I don’t feel guilty reaching for another taste as it wanes. If you happen to stumble across a bottle of Famoso, pick up a bottle, even if you don’t prefer white wines! This has excellent character and great potential for food pairings (maybe a fruit salsa over grilled white fish in the summertime!) I will report back on cheese pairings but it does taste better with parmigiano-reggiano than pecorino! Also, for anyone keeping track, that’s #157 on my varietals list! My present goal is 200!