Trebbiano del Rubicone
Trebbiano is a white grape which originated in Italy but has successfully migrated to other European wine regions such as Bulgaria, Portugal and particularly France. There are also plantings in New World wine nations, notably Argentina and Australia, where it was most likely introduced by Italian migrants.
Despite being the most widely used white wine grape variety in the world’s two most famous and prolific wine-producing nations (France and Italy), Trebbiano remains relatively unknown to most wine consumers. This is because in France it is used primarily for brandy production and in Italy as a blending component rarely cited on labels.
Trebbiano is still allowed to be used in many of Italy’s 300-plus DOCs. Its most common use is as a blending component, although there are at least six Italian DOCs specifically for single-variety Trebbiano wines (the best known of these is Trebbiano d’Abruzzo). The grape is most prevalent in Tuscany, where it was once so widespread that wine authorities were forced to allow it to be used in some of the region’s red blends.
It is believed that Trebbiano was introduced to France during the 14th Century, when the papal court was established at Avignon. (It was from this event that the name Chateauneuf-du-Pape was derived.) In subsequent centuries, extensive plantings occurred all over the southern Rhone Valley, right down to the Mediterranean coast in Provence.
It is in Cognac, however, that the variety has made its biggest impression, under the guise of Ugni Blanc. Here, and in Armagnac, it is responsible for the world’s most celebrated brandies.
The typical wine made from Trebbiano is crisp and refreshingly high in acidity. Typical tasting terms associated with the variety include references to citrus fruits, white floral notes (such as magnolia) and mineral components, depending on the terroir of origin.