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Italy celebrates Unification with 20-grape blends

Two wines blended from 40 different grape varieties from all over Italy have been made to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the unification of the republic.

A team of winemakers under the auspices of the Associazione Enologi Enotecnici Italiani (the Italian Oenologist and Oenotechnicians Association) have put together the red and the white wine – called Una – which will be launched at Vinitaly next week.

The grape varieties, 20 red and 20 white from Friuli in the north to Sicily in the south, are an encyclopaedia of Italian indigenous grapes.

From Valle d’Aosta, for example, the white is the Prie Blanc, the red Petit Rouge. Lombardy sent in a Trebbiano di Lugana and a Croatina. There is Friulano from Friuli, Pignoletto from Emilia Romagna, Sangiovese from Tuscany, Falanghina from Molise and Greco from Basilicata.

Calabria sent Gaglioppo, Sardinia provided Vermentino, and Umbria Grechetto. Trentino supplied Teroldego; Veneto, Garganega and Liguria the little-known red, Rossesse di Dolceaqua.

Each region’s agricultural supervisor chose the grapes: the whites all come from the 2009 vintage, the reds from the years 2005-2009.

The wine will not be available commercially but will be given to the president of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, ‘the highest Italian authorities …Italian embassies abroad and noted dignatories from other nations.’

A total of 6,800 bottles have been produced in jeroboam, magnum and standard sizes, all designed by Italian architect Aldo Cibic.

The wines will be launched at a dinner at Vinitaly in Verona on 6 April; so far they have been tasted by only a handful of critics.

Reports suggest the white has citrus and pear notes, minerality, racy acidity and is relatively full-bodied for such a young wine. One critic said, ‘it is a decidedly Italian wine.’

The red is dry with good acidity, full bodied with black and red fruit, oak and chocolate notes. The critic noted, ‘none of the varieties that go into the wine was dominant.’

Written by Adam Lechmere

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