The white grape variety comes from Italy. Synonyms are Decanico, Dorana di Venetia, Garganega Comune, Garganega di Gambellara, Garganega Gentile, Garganega Grossa, Garganega Piramidale, Garganega Veronese, Grecanico, Grecanico Bianco, Grecanico Dorato, Grecenicu Biancu, Lizzara, Ostesa, Ostesona, Recanicu(Italy); Garganega Bijela(Croatia); Malvasía de Manresa(Spain). Although it appears to have synonyms or morphological similarities, it should not be confused with Dorona di Venezia, Ribolla Gialla or Vitovska. This very old vine was already mentioned in the 13th century by Petrus de Crescentiis (1230-1320). As with some other Italian grape varieties such as Greco, among others, it is thought to be of Greek origin, which would be confirmed by its occurrence in Sicily. To date, however, no genetic relationships to Greek varieties have been found.
The variety probably originates from the province of Verona in Veneto. Several DNA analyses carried out at the beginning of the 21st century yielded a wealth of sometimes astonishing findings. Parenthood has not yet been determined, but Garganega is considered the leading variety in the European gene pool, from which many others are descended. It is identical with the Grecanico Dorato (Grecanico) cultivated in Sicily and with the Malvasía de Manresa, which was formerly cultivated in Catalunya, Spain. Direct parent-offspring relationships (as child or parent) exist with the varieties Albana, Catarratto Bianco Comune (child), Dorona di Venezia (child), Malvasia Bianca di Candia, Marzemina Bianca, Montonico Bianco, Mostosa, Trebbiano Toscano and Susumaniello (child). Furthermore, there is a genetic proximity to the varieties Corvina Veronese, Dindarella, Oseleta and Rondinella. The variety was a cross between the two new breeds Goldtraminer and Pirovano 91.
The late maturing, high-yielding vine is resistant to fungal diseases. It produces white wines with moderate acidity and delicate almond and lemon aromas. It is also used as a table grape. The variety is mainly spread in Veneto, but is also cultivated in the regions of Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lombardy, Trentino-Alto Adige and Umbria. There it is registered in DOC/DOCG wines such as Arcole, Bianco di Custoza, Colli Berici, Colli Euganei, Gambellara, Garda, Garda Colli Mantovani, Recioto di Gambellara, Recioto di Soave and Soave. Vin Santo is also produced from rosé Garganega grapes.
In Sicily, it is known as Grecanico or Grecanico Dorato and is found mainly in the north-west and west in the provinces of Agrigento, Palermo and Trapani. There it is registered in the DOC wines Alcamo, Contea di Sclafani, Contessa Entellina, Delia Nivolelli, Erice, Menfi, Monreale, Sambuca di Sicilia, Santa Margherita di Belice, Sciacca and Sicilia, among others. The total Italian area under cultivation in 2010 was 15,375 hectares. A small stand of 27 hectares was also cultivated in Argentina in the same year. The variety occupied a total of 15,402 hectares of vineyards in 2010. There was a slight reduction compared to 1990 with 16,549 hectares. It thus occupied 50th place in the global grape variety ranking.
Source: Wine Grapes / J. Robinson, J. Harding, J. Vouillamoz / Penguin Books Ltd. 2012
Pictures: Ursula Brühl, Doris Schneider, Julius Kühn Institute (JKI)