Researchers map Corvina DNA, revealing unique genes that make the variety ideal for dried-grape wines

According to a report circulated today by the Italian media, researchers at the University of Verona have completed mapping of the DNA contained in the Corvina grape variety, the main grape utilized in the production of wines from Valpolicella, including dried-grape wines Amarone and Recioto. The decoding marks the first time ever, according to the report, that DNA has been mapped for an indigenous Italian grape variety.

Researchers Massimo Delledonne and Mario Pezzotti were able to confirm what they already suspected: the Corvina grape contains genes that become active when the fruit is exposed to “hypo-hydraulic stress,” i.e., water deprivation during the drying process (called appasimento in Italian). These genes, which are absent in other red grapes like Pinot Noir, help to create and preserve the characteristic aromas and flavors of Amarone as the berries are dried.

Vini Veri tasting details, April 8-10, 2010

    Dates: Thursday, April 8th to Saturday, April 10th

    Time: 10 AM to 6 PM

    Place: AreaExp Events Center, in Cerea (Province of Verona), about a half-hour drive/train ride from Vinitaly.

    Producers: over 130 natural wine producers, from Italy and beyond.

    Organizers: Vini Veri Consortium and Renaissance Des Appellations.

    A complete list of the participating winemakers will soon be available on our website, www.viniveri.net.

Benvenuto Brunello begins today in Montalcino

Above: The picturesque medieval fortress (La fortezza) in Montalcino provides the backdrop each year for Brunello’s annual debutante event. Photo courtesy Montalcino Report.

Benvenuto Brunello (“Welcome Brunello), the Brunello of Montalcino producers association’s annual event, begins today, with tastings in Montalcino today and tomorrow for press and trade, Saturday and Sunday for consumers.

Participating producers will be presenting current vintages of Brunello di Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino Riserva, Rosso di Montalcino, and Moscadello di Montalcino.

Recently discovered “Rosecco” a case of “agropiracy” says Minister Zaia

In a statement published Wednesday at Italy’s agriculture ministry website, minister Luca Zaia called the recent seizure of 14,000 bottles of sparkling rosé wine labeled “Rosecco” a blow against “agropiracy.”

“The unbridled imagination of the agropirates was about to strike one of the most important players in the Italian peninsula’s wine industry: Prosecco,” said Zaia in the statement. “Playing on the assonance of the names and the color of the label in order to fool the consumer, 14,000 bottles of Rosecco were destined for English dinner tables.”

The seizure was initially reported by Decanter.com on Friday of last week.

The wine was seized last week by the Conegliano (Veneto) office of the Ispettorato centrale per il controllo della qualità dei prodotti agroalimentari (Central Inspectorate for the Monitoring of Food and Farm Products).

According to Italian appellation regulations, Prosecco cannot be made using red grapes and cannot be produced as a rosé wine.

It remains unclear, however, why the ministry took action only now: the wine, produced and bottled by the high-volume sparkling wine producer Trevisiol Spumanti (based in Valdobbiadene, Prosecco’s heartland), has been available in the European market for some time now (notably in Germany).

While the Trevisiol website does not currently list Rosecco as one of its products, it does report that its Charmat-method sparkling rosé brut is made with Chardonnay, Pinot Nero, and Prosecco grapes.