International grapes in Italy

Italy is not just home to a large variety of of autochthonic grapes like Sangiovese, Barbera and Cannonau. Many International grapes are planted throughout Italy, too. If you want to brwose through the most important Italian then Vino in Love has this guide for you.

What are international grapes?

International grapes are those grapes that are found in many countries of the world; often across different continents. In many cases these grapes still have a country of origin but for different reasons the grapes have been exported all over the world. This article will focus on international grapes found in Italy.

International grapes in Italy

The more important ones are highlighted.

  • Cabernet-Franc (red)
  • Cabernet-Sauvignon (red)
  • Carignan (red, in Italy known as Carignano)
  • Chardonnay (white)
  • Gewürztraminer (white)
  • Merlot (red)
  • Pinot Blanc (white, in Italy known as Pinot Bianco)
  • Pinot Noir (red, in Italy known as Pinot Nero)
  • Riesling (white, in Italy there is a similar grape known as Riesling Italico)
  • Sauvignon Blanc (white)
  • Syrah (red)

Cabernet-Sauvignon is grown pretty much in all Italian regions. Sometimes found in blends with other grapes but there are pure Cabernet-Sauvignon wines from Italy, too. Cabernet-Lagrein is a common blend in South Tyrol. 

Chardonnay is planted often in Northern Italy and parts of Central Italy.. Can be found in the varieties frizzante, spumante and fermo (non-sparkling wine). Italian winery’s sometime tend to age Chardonnay in oak barrels.

Merlot is rarely found as a pure wine. Instead it’s used in blends. The grape is grown in Tuscany and Southern Italy. In fact many Sicilian IGTs are often made in parts with Merlot.

Sangiovese grapesSauvignon Blanc is grown mostly in Northern Italy. Unlike Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc usually ages in stainless steel tanks. Italian Sauvignon Blancs are new competitors on the market but can compete quite well with the established wineries.

Syrah is planted in the Centro and in Southern Italy. Sicilian vintners managed to produce stunning Syrah wines. These wines tend to be classified as IGT since they are rather new, often modern wines which don’t follow the old guidelines of DOC/DOCG. Rosato is sometimes also made from Syrah. In Tuscany Syrah gets sometimes blended with local Sangiovese and Canaiolo grapes which can result in great IGT Toscano wines.

Italian grapes that are grown in other countries

Italy did not only import international grapes but it also exported a large variety of the local grapes. 

  • Barbera (red) which is a local grape from Piedmont has been planted in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay but also in the Californian Napa Valley.
  • Nebbiolo (red) originated in the Piedmont. Due to it’s high success in the Piedmont the grape is also found in Argentina, Australia, Switzerland, Uruguay, and California. The quantities planted abroad are rather small.
  • Primitivo (red) is a Southern Italian grape which is also found in South America and in California. Foreign Primitivo is sometimes known as Zinfandel.
  • Sangiovese (red) is the most planted grape in Italy.  It has been Argentina, Australia and in the United States.
  • Trebbiano (white) is Italy’s most important white grape. Argentina , Australia, South Africa and  the United States imported the Trebbiano grape.

All these grapes have one thing in common: They are all found in parts of South America and in the USA.
If you have any questions about this topic then feel free to ask them in the comment section below.

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