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Italian Grapes In El Dorado County Wines

Italian Grapes In El Dorado County Wines

Iitalian Grapestalian grape varieties have found a home here in El Dorado County and are flourishing throughout the region.  Varieties such as Bianconello, Nebbiolo, Sagrantiono, Vermentino, Toscanello and Primitivo can be found in this region in smaller plantings.  Viognier is a cousin of Nebbiolo.

Primitivo is included here because it is often considered to be an Italian varietal even though it is originally from Croatia. Primitivo is also thought to be a clone of the original Zinfandel vines and is widely cultivated in Italy as well as California.

The two varieties most common to the El Dorado Region however are Sangiovese and Barbera. Both of these grapes are used in making wonderful award winning wines in El Dorado County.

Sangiovese is originally from the Tuscany area of Italy and makes wine that covers the gamut from big and bold to light and bright.  It is the grape that is used to make Chianti, although no true Chianti style wine is made in our region.  Sangiovese can be fruit forward or rustic and ages well for four to seven years or more.  It is high in tannin and acid.  

Barbera is a grape that is common in the Piedmont area of Italy but not as popular as Sangiovese in its homeland.  It is gaining popularity here because, frankly, it makes really good wine.  It is lower in tannin, but still has plenty of acid.  It is usually smooth and fruity and pairs very well with food. More is being planted here in the El Dorado Region every year so watch for it in the tasting rooms because it is making better wines every year. 

If you like Merlot, Barbera may be a good wine to try next.  ...Want something very rare? try Sagrantino.