Nosiola RARE GRAPE white

Nosiola is a golden-skinned grape variety found in northeastern Italy, mainly in the vineyards of Trentino. The versatile variety is used to make light, dry white wines, and rich, botrytis-affected Vino Santo wines, which are considered some of the best sweet wines in Italy. Flavor profiles range from citrusy to tropical depending on vinification, but Nosiola takes its name from its most distinctive flavor: nocciola being the Italian for hazelnut.

Nosiola is found mostly in the hills surrounding Trento, where the terroir gives the most flavorful expression of the grape. On the exposed, ventilated hillsides there is little risk of rot or mildew, and the variety's naturally high yields can be curbed somewhat. Grown in large quantities on flatter vineyards, Nosiola grapes have a tendency toward blandness.

Loose bunches and a susceptibility to noble rot has given rise to Nosiola's most important style: Vino Santo, which falls under the Trentino DOC. These wines are made from botrytis-affected grapes that have then been air-dried prior to vinification, which increases sugar concentration and results in a nutty, creamy sweet wine.

Nosiola has been increasingly used to make dry white wines as well, following on from international trends. These range considerably in terms of quality: at worst they are neutral and unexciting, but at best they are soft, nutty and display floral aromas with some citrus overtones.

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Countries grown: Argentina, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland