Grechetto is an Italian wine grape of Greek origins. The grape is planted throughout central Italy, particularly in the Umbria region where it is used in the Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) wine Orvieto. It is primarily a blending grape, though some varietal wine is also produced. Grechetto is commonly blended with Chardonnay, Malvasia, Trebbiano and Verdello. The grape's thick skin provides good resistance to downy mildew which can attack the grape late in the harvest season. This makes Grechetto a suitable blending grape in the production of vin santo.
In the ampelographic heritage of Umbria, an absolute relevant place is occupied by Grechetto, the most important white berried grape of the green heart of Italy. Found in almost all production disciplinary of Denominazione d'Origine Controllata white wines of Umbria, Grechetto is used either alone or blended to other grapes found in the region, such as Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia Bianca, as well as some international varieties, of which the most frequent one is Chardonnay. Despite Grechetto is an autochthonous grape of Umbria, its spreading is not limited to the green region of central Italy only. Grechetto is in fact found - although its spreading is limited and marginal - in Tuscany, Marches and Latium, mainly in the areas bordering Umbria. Outside Umbrian borders, Grechetto is almost exclusively used together with other grapes, whereas in its homeland it is frequently used for the production of monovarietal wines.
The name Grechetto would unequivocally suggest the connection of the origins of this grape to Greece, making it part of the large family of the so called Greek grapes introduced by the Hellenic in past times. Indeed the Grechetto name seems to have its origins during Medieval times, when the wines produced with this grape reminded aromas and flavors of the ones coming from the eastern areas of the Mediterranean. Moreover, the connection with Greek grapes seems to be controverted by some genetic researches done on Grechetto. These analyses seems to have found out the Grechetto known in Umbria is genetically similar to Pignoletto grape known in Emilia Romagna and to Ribolla Riminese. As for wines produced with Grechetto, it should be remembered the particular qualities of the ones belonging to the Colli Martani DOC, which disciplinary provides for the special appellation “Grechetto di Todi”, famous for its finesse and elegance.
In Italy, the Grechetto grape is found in DOCs of the central region-most notably Umbria's Orvieto region as well as the DOCs of Torgiano and Colli Martani. The grape has been developing more of a presence in the area as winemakers are finding more potential in the grape than in the other main Umbria white grape varieties-Drupeggio and Trebbiano. In Lazio, the grape is found in the Cervaro region where the Antinori family has actively promoted it Cervaro blend of Grechetto and Chardonnay.
Viticulture and winemaking
The thick skin of Grechetto grapes allows the grape to be harvested late with high sugar levels. This works well in the production of dessert wines. There are at least two sub-varieties of Grechetto-Grechetto di Todi and Grechetto Spoletino with the former being more widely planted in the area. The Grechetto vine is low yielding and able to produce concentrated flavors. The grape is primarily used as a blending grape where it adds richness and structure to the wines. It is most often blended with Chardonnay, Trebbiano, Malvasia and Verdello. In Umbria, Grechetto can add herbal and nutty flavors to the wine.
According to an enological point of view, Grechetto is mainly used for the production of dry white wines, however it is very frequent to find this grape in Umbrian Vin Santo, the typical sweet wine of the region produced with dried grapes. Wines produced with Grechetto usually have an average body, sometimes a full body as well, with colors ranging from greenish yellow to golden yellow. The most common wine making technique for Grechetto - in case it is used for the production of table wines - makes use of inert containers, however some Umbrian producers tend to favor the cask or barrique. Barrique and cask are generally used for wines in which Grechetto is blended to Chardonnay, however it is not uncommon to find 100% Grechetto wines fermented or aged in cask or barrique. It should however be observed the use of cask is pretty limited and only one part is generally fermented or aged with this method, whereas the remaining part is vinified in inert container, such as stainless steel or cement.
Recent research using DNA analysis, have established the identity of Greek Todi , Pignoletto and Ribolla Rimini , while they seem to be profoundly different the Grechetto of Orvieto and di Tufo .
Environmental and cultural characteristics and needs:
He leaves medium, oblong, pentagonal, or five lobes sometimes entire; bunch medium-small, cylindrical-conical, tight, sometimes with wings, berry medium, oval, with thin but firm, yellowish, covered with bloom. It adapts well to soils of central Italy, has abundant production and requires pruning medium-long forms of farming with medium expansion.
Diseases and adversity:
Tolerates winter cold and spring frosts (common feature in many areas of Umbria and Tuscany in part). Good resistance to downy mildew and has a sensitivity 's average powdery mildew .
Follows, by region, a list of all DOC and DOCG is allowed where the use of this vine.
Bianco di Pitigliano - 0 to 15%
Colline Lucchesi - 0 to 45%
Cortona - 85 to 100% (with mention of the vine)
Valdichiana - blend in
Vin Santo di Montepulciano - 70 to 100%
Assisi - 85 to 100% (with mention of the vine)
Amerini Hills - 0 to 30%
Colli del Trasimeno or Trasimeno - 85 to 100% (with mention of the vine)
Martani Hills - 85 to 100% (with mention of the vine)
Colli Perugini - 80 to 100% (with mention of the vine)
Montefalco - 50 ÷ 80%
Orvieto - 0 to 20%
Torgiano - 15 to 40%
The Grechetto is also known as Greghetto, Grechetto di Todi, Greco Spoletino, White Pulcinculo , Pizzinculo , Pistil , Flea , Pignoletto , Stroppa Volpe , Montanaro , Montanarini , Uva di San Marino , or eye , Greek Gentil and Grecherello , Strozzavolpe, Stroppa Volpe and Greco Bianco di Perugia. Despite having a synonym with a similar name, the grape is of no relation to the Greco Bianco grape of the Calabria region