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Aleatico



[ah-leh-AH-tee-koh] An Italian red grape that some theorize is a variation of the muscat family because of its flowery Muscat characteristics. Its noncharacteristic deep color, however, seems to discount this theory. The wines created from this grape are rich sweet, alcoholic and well-rounded. Two docs are focused on this variety-Aleatico di Puglia in southern Italy and Aleatico di Gradoli in lazio northwest of Rome. Aleatico wines that are fortified as liquorosos can serve as less expensive port substitutes. This grape is also called Agliano, Allianico, Leatico, Moscatello, and Muscateller.

Aleatico is a red wine grape that ampelographers suspect may be a mutation of the Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains vine. It is notable for being the primary grape in the cult wine Aleatico di Portoferraio made in Elba. It is grown most commonly in the Puglia and Lazio region of Italy. In Chile is known as Red Moscatel. The grape has also been cultivated at Mudgee in New South Wales and in California


History


 

During his exile in Elba, wine made from Aleatic was reportedly a favorite drink for Napoleon.Ampelographers suspect that Aleatico maybe a dark skin of the French wine grape Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains which is part of the extensive Muscat family of grapes, believed to be the oldest family of Vitis Vinifera in the world.DNA profiling conducted at Istituto Agrario di San Michele all’Adige suggest that the relationship between Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains and Aleatico maybe that of a parent-offspring rather than just a mutation. Other alternative theories has the grape being descended from Muscat noir. Historians also disagree on the wine's exact origins with competing theories of the grape being brought to Italy by the ancient Greeks or being native to then southern Italian region of Pulgia.

During the 14th century, the Italian wine writer Pietro Crescenzi wrote of wine being produced in central and southern Italy from the Livatica grape which is today believed to be Aleatico. In Elba, there is a long history of producing dessert wines from Aleatico.During his exile on Elba, the Aleatico wines of the island became a favorite drink of Napoleon. Napoleon was reported to have said that Aleatico wines were his only consolation during this time.

 

Wine regions


 

Aleatico wine is produced in Salento Peninsula.Aleatico is most commonly found in Italy, primarily in Elba, Apulia, Lazio, and southern Tuscany. Smaller plantings of Italian Aleatico can be found in Le Marche, Abruzzo and Sicily. Outside of Italy the grape can be found in Australia, California, Chile, Corsica (though it is not permitted in any AOC authorized wines), Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

For most of the 20th century, Italian plantings of the grape had been in decline but recent years have seen a spike of interest in the variety. In Elba there is a Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, the Aleatico dell’Elba Passito DOCG dedicated to the production of passito style wines made from Aleatico. Under Italy's appellation system, very few dessert wine receive the highest designation of DOCG level making the Aleatico dell’Elba Passito a rarity in Italian.

In Apulia, Aleatico is widely around the city of Bari and in the southern Salento Peninsula. The style of Aleatico wines from Apulia tend to be sweeter and richer in flavor than the wines typically from Elba due to the warmer climate of southern Italy and the potential for higher levels of sugars in the grapes. In Lazio, Aleatico is found around Lake Bolsena where it has its own Denominazione di Origine Controllata region of the Aleatico di Gradoli DOC. This dessert style wine is produced from grapes grown on the northwestern hillsides of the lake which partially overlaps into the Est! Est!! Est!!! di Montefiascone DOC. In Apulia, there is the Aleatico di Puglia DOC.

 

Wine styles


 

Lychee is an aroma descriptor often attributed to wines made from Aleatico. Aleatico is often used to produce dessert style wines. The grapes may be dried or the wines could be produced fortified in a Liquoroso style. The wines are typically aged at least 6 months prior to release with Italian wines labeled as Liquoroso Riserva requiring three years of aging, with at least 2 of those years in wood barrels.

Aleatico wines are characterized by their sweet aromas of roses (a trait they shares with Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains). Other aroma notes common to Aleatico include various berry fruits and lychees. Aleatico wines tend to have high alcohol content that is balanced by the grape's acidity.

 

Viticulture and winemaking


 

Environmental and cultural characteristics and needs: It has large leaves and pentagonal orbicular, lobed or quinqelobata; cluster average, slightly loose, long and with a wing, medium berry, discoid irregular, blue-red in the skin is covered with abundant bloom. Average production and has consistently prefers the warm weather, hilly terrain and loose, well-exposed.

Diseases and adversity: It has good tolerance to fungal diseases, bad bear the springs very humid and shady areas. Sometimes presents millerandage sweet or sour.


Follows, by region, a list of all D.O.C. and D.O.C.G. where it is permitted to use this vine


Tuscany:
- Elba: 100%
- Sovana: alone or in blends
- Val di Cornia: blend in

Italy:
- Lake Corby: 0-30%
- Red or Orvieto Orvieto Red: 70-100%

Lazio:
- Aleatico Gradoli: 100%

Puglia:
- Aleatico di Puglia: 85-100%
- Gioia del Colle: 85-100%
- Salice Salentino: 85-100%

 

Synonyms and mutations


In Chile, the grape is known as Red Moscatel. Other, rarely seen, synonyms include Livatica, Leatico and Agliano. A white mutation of Aleatico, known as Aleatico Bianco exist but is very rarely cultivated.

 


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