The white grape variety comes from Italy; other main names are Ugni Blanc and Talia. The 120 or so synonyms testify to its great age and widespread use. Important ones grouped alphabetically by country are Ugni Blanc(Argentina); White Shiraz(Australia); Ugni Blanc(Bulgaria); Regrat(Germany); Armenian, Blanc de Cadillac, Clairette à Grains Ronds, Clairette de Afrique, Clairette de Vence, Clairette Ronde, Gredelin, Morterille Blanche, Muscadet Aigre, Roussan, Saint-Émilion, Saint-Émilion des Charentes, Ugni Blanc(France); Balsamina Bianca, Bianca di Poviglio, Botticino Bianca, Brocanico, Buzzetto, Morbidella, Procanico, Senese, Sinese, Trebbiano di Cesena, Trebbiano di Empoli, Trebbiano di Lucca, Trebbiano di Toscana, Trebbiano Fiorentino, Uva Bianca(Italy); Rossola Brandcina, Rossola Brandisca(Corsica); Rogoznička, Šijaka, Ugni Blanc (Croatia); Branquinha, Alfrocheiro Branco, Douradina Branco, Douradinha, Douradinha dos Vinhos Verdes, Douradinho, Espadeiro Branco, Padeiro Branco, Tália, Thalia(Portugal); Uni Belyi(Russia); Ugni Blanc(Uruguay); St Emilion(USA).
Although it appears to have synonyms or morphological similarities, it should not be confused with the Albanella, Biancame, Douradinha, Maceratino, Passerina, Coda di Volpe Bianca, Damaschino, Erbaluce, Fernão Pires, Macabeo, Sémillon, Trbljan, Trebbiano Spoletino or the many other Trebbiano varieties. According to DNA analyses, there is a genetic link with the Alionza variety, as well as a parent-offspring relationship with the lead variety Garganega. Procanico (Umbria) is considered to be a small-berry variety. A mutation is Ugni Blanc à Feuille Decoupée (Ugni Blanc à Feuilles Persilées). Trebbiano Toscano was a crossbreeding partner of the new varieties Chenel, Folignan, Manzoni Rosa, Nouvelle, Select and Vidal Blanc.
As its name suggests, the variety originated in Tuscany, where it was mentioned by the agronomist Giovanni Soderini (1526-1596) in his work published posthumously in 1600, together with a Malvasia (probably Malvasia Bianca Lunga) as the most widespread variety in the region. Trebbiano Toscano was already introduced into France in the 14th century and is known there as Ugni Blanc. This medium to late-maturing, high-yielding vine is resistant to powdery mildew and botrytis, but is susceptible to downy mildew and eutypiosis. It yields rather low-alcohol, acidic white wines with a neutral taste, which are excellent for distillation. The variety is represented worldwide under various names.
In Italy, the variety is cultivated in the regions of Abruzzo, Emilia-Romagna, Lazio, Lombardy, Sardinia, Tuscany, Umbria and Veneto. It is approved there in numerous DOC/DOCG white wines. These include Aprilia, Arborea, Bianco Capena, Bianco di Custoza, Bianco di Pitigliano, Capriano del Colle, Colli Albani, Chianti, Est! Est!! Est!!! di Montefiascone, Frascati, Gambellara, Lugana, Maremma Toscana, Montecompatri-Colonna, Monteregio di Massa Marittima, Montescudaio, Orcia, Parrina, Romagna, Soave, Torgiano and Trebbiano d'Abruzzo. The Italian area under cultivation is 22,702 hectares, with a decreasing trend (in 2000 it was 39,447 hectares).
After France, it was introduced from Italy as early as the 14th century during the papacy in Avignon, first in Provence and Languedoc and later in the departments of Charente and Charente-Maritime in southwest France. Its name rarely appears on a label, however, as it is mainly used as the basis for Armagnac under the name Ugni Blanc and Cognac under the name Saint-Émilion, but is also used for the country wines Côtes de Gascogne, among others. The French cultivated area is 83,2445 hectares with a decreasing tendency (in 2000 it was 90,341 hectares).
Other stocks are found in the European countries Bulgaria (723 ha), Greece (297 ha), Croatia (210 ha), Portugal (212 ha), Russia (66 ha) and Spain (45 ha). Overseas it is cultivated in Argentina (1,922 ha), Australia (86 ha), California (80 ha), South Africa (74 ha) and Uruguay (751 ha). In 2010, the variety occupied a total of 109,772 hectares of vineyards. Compared to 1990 with 207,742 hectares at that time, this means a reduction to about half. However, it was still ranked 9th in the worldwide 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)