The red grape variety comes from Italy (South Tyrol). The most important of the more than 160 synonyms alphabetically grouped by country are (other main names in bold) Black Hamburg, Black Hamburgh, Pope Hamburgh, Prince Albert, Victoria, Victoria Hamburgh(England); Admiral, Egyptian, Blue Trollinger, Bocksauge, Bocksbeutelrebe, Dachtraube, Frankenthaler, Hammelshoden, Hammelschelle, Hammelsohlen, Hudler, Huttler, Kreuzertraube, Mohrendutte, Schwarzblauer Trollinger, Trollinger, Zottelwälscher(Germany); Bruxelloise, Grand Noir, Gros Bleu, Gros Noir, Gros Plant Grand Noir, Raisin Bleu (France); Bresciana, Bressana, Schiavone, Uva Meranese, Uva Nera d'Amburgo(Italy); Edelvernatsch, Großvernatsch, Meraner Kurtraube, Tschaggele, Vernatsch(South Tyrol).
The variety is the most important member of the heterogeneous name group Schiava. With the variety Schiava Gentile there is a parent-offspring relationship. Schiava Grossa must not be confused with the varieties Piccola Nera, Schiava Grigia or Schiava Lombarda, in spite of apparently indicative synonyms or morphological similarities. The variety has many direct descendants from natural crosses and new breeds:
The medium (as Schiava Grossa in Italy) or late (as Trollinger in Germany) ripening vine is susceptible to both mildew and botrytis, but extremely resistant to frost. It produces fruity red wines with soft tannins and aromas of almonds and violets similar to those of the other Schiava varieties. As Brussels grape, Merano Kurtraube or Black Hamburg, it is also produced as table grape. The variety is cultivated in Italy in the Trentino-Alto Adige region and under the name Bressana in Lombardy. It is registered there in numerous DOC wines together with other Schiava varieties. The Italian area under cultivation in 2010 was 580 hectares, with a strong downward trend (in 2000 it was 1,259 hectares).
In Germany, it has long been spread as Trollinger almost exclusively in the Württemberg growing region (98%). As a "house grape", known since the 14th century, it provides the typical "quarter wine" of the Swabians and is often produced as light-pressed white autumn. According to a report by the papal legate Alexander, Martin Luther (1483-1546) allegedly fortified himself with this wine before his departure from the Reichstag in Worms, where he refused the papal request to revoke his writings in 1521. There are also smaller stocks in England and Japan. The cultivated area in Germany is 2,431 hectares. In 2010, a total of 3,411 hectares of vineyards were designated (Kym Anderson).
A Schiava Grossa vine (under the name Black Hamburg) is one of the oldest vines in the world (see there in detail). It produces a regular annual yield. It was already planted in 1769 by the landscape gardener Lancelot Brown (1716-1783) under the reign of the English King George III. (1738-1820) is located in the garden of the Tudor Palace "Hampton Court Palace" near London. The approximately 250 year old vine is cultivated under glass and, as mentioned, still bears fruit. The circumference of the trunk is four metres; the longest shoot is 36,5 metres. The average annual harvest is around 250 kg of grapes.
Source: Wine Grapes / J. Robinson, J. Harding, J. Vouillamoz / Penguin Books Ltd. 2012
Pictures: Ursula Brühl, Doris Schneider, Julius Kühn Institute (JKI)