1. Maceratino: This is a very rare grape grown in the heart of the LeMarche in ColliMaceratesi. Apparently indigeneous to that area and near extinction. There apparently are only 2 ha left in the world. I thought the wine was pleasant enough, especially for the $, but just that. But it has me a bit worried. If we don't start buyin this wine, so they can ramp up production, this grape is going to go extinct. Come on, folks....is $10 too much to ask to save a grape from extinction?? I'm in for a case...let's get the ball rolling.
I've been having guilt feelings about my driving GreenHungarian extinct. Back in the '70's, Sebastiani used to make a modest little GreenHungarian that was pleasant enough. They dropped the varietal, though. The only holdout for GreenHungarian was Weibel up in MendocinoCnty. The wine was dull as dishwater...tasted like crap. When they dropped their GreenHungarian, my reaction was..."right on". This grape was not worth saving and rightfully should be tossed onto the dustbin of vinous history. Consumer reaction to this crap wine drove the wine to extinction. Some varieties aren't worth saving from extinction....just like that stupid-looking dodo bird. The FPS/Davis no longer has it available. The world is now a better place w/o GreenHungarian.
But, now, MattRorick of ForlornHope wants to make a GreenHungarian. I have little doubt that it would be the greatest GreenHungarian ever made in the World. But could he find any GH grapes you think??? Nope....not a bit of it to be found. He finally did track down a few GH vines and has lined up a friend to propagate them into a small planting. So...down the road...there will, once again, be a Calif GreenHungarian. And I'm confident, knowing Matt's winemaking skills, that it'll be darn good. But I feel soooo badly about making Matt's dream so much harder...all because I didn't buy more of that crap Weibel GH.
So let's not let this sorry tale be repeated. Get out there and buy more Maceratino...so it won't go extinct!!!
2. Some of these are pretty obscure grapes. I'd highly recommend RobTebeau's FringeWine blog:
(http://fringewine.blogspot.com/) for a particularly good discussion of Turbiana and Maceratino.
One of his statements therein caught my eye: "The slight differences in the DNA of Trebbiano di Lugana and Trebbiano di Soave found in the previous study are here attributed to slight differences in the soil and microclimate where the grapes are found, which, it turns out, can cause slight changes in a vine's genetic expression." That's something I'd not heard before. But, turns out it's true, according to one DNA authority and noted chocolate brownie producer:
"Differences in environment (i.e., soil, climate, etc.) can indeed cause differences in a vine's morphology and/or fruit composition. Those differences may or may not be a result of a change in the expression of the vine's genes. Could just be caused by a modification of a biochemicalpathway that's sensitive to environmental conditions. Or they could indeed be caused by a change in gene expression. What is less likely is that the environment caused a change in the genes themselves (although that also is possible).
The current thinking is that Verdicchio bianco, Trebbiano di Soave and Trebbiano di Lugana are all the same variety (which also goes by over 40 additional names). http://www.vivc.de/datasheet/dataResult.php?data=12963 But the trouble with many Italian studies is that they can be so parochial. A study from one institution may use vines from a collection in its own region and the next study, from a different institution, uses vines from a collection in a different region. Italian history being what it is, vines listed under the same name in these different collections may not actually be the same. So that, of course, will tend to give confounding results." So...there you have it. Italians and their grapes can be so frustrating!!
3. Lugana: This wine is made from Trebbiano di Lugana. There's a whole range of Trebbiano di XXX throughout Italy. Trebbiano is also known as UgniBlanc in France; Burger in Calif. Trebbiano, as a rule, makes pretty dull & ordinary wines. Which is why I looked askance at DarrellCorti when he instructed me to try this wine. Turns out that Trebbiano di Lugana is not a Trebbiano, but a variety called Turbiana.
The '06 version was an absolutely drop-dead gorgeous wine. The '05 version was a totally different beast; dramatically different in style. Since I doubt this was the winemakers intention, I would suspect that the '05 btl was compromised in some way.