Uva di Troia [OO-vah dee TROY-uh] is a red wine grape variety grown in the Italian region of Puglia, particularly in the coastal areas around Barletta in the Province of Bari.
The name probably derives from the town of Troia in the Province of Foggia whose legendary founder was the Greek hero Diomedes, who had destroyed the ancient Troy. The name is sometimes translated "Grape of Troy" for an association with ancient Greece, but most claim that "Troia" actually means "lady of the night" in the sailors' slang of Bari, Puglia's seaport city.Synonyms include: Nero di Troia, Sumarello, Uva di Canosa, Uva di Barletta, Troiano, Tranese, and Uva della Marina.
Legend ascribes its colonization to the hero of the Trojan war Diomede, founder of many towns in Apulia. Diomede, as castaway, sailing across the Adriatic sea discovered the mouth of the river Ofanto and he sailed it up until he found an ideal place for himself; here he used the stones of the walls of the city of Troy which brought with himself as ballast , as boundary stones to mark the territory that he named “Campi Diomedei”. One of these stones can still be admired between Barletta and Canosa and is known as the Menhir of Canne Della Battaglia. Very probably the greek hero brought with himself also something else as booty.: those vine shoots that, planted on the banks of the river Ofanto, gave rise to the Troia Grapes. This is the legend that also echoes in some recent ampelographers works (S. Del Gaudio, L. Ciasca, “Principali vitigni da vino coltivati in Italia”, Vol. I, Conegliano 1960) which report the synonyms of the Troia grapes such as Vitigno di Canosa, Tranese, Black of Troia, Troiano, Uva di Barletta, Uva della Marina, and also describe it as “native to Troia and imported to Apulia by the ancient Greeks”.
Till the first half of the 19th century, that is before the unification of Italy, the wine production was just limited to the local needs. When the Phyloxera destroyed all the French vineyards there was an enormous demand for local wine. The wine-growing in the Diomedei Fields at the end of the 19th century was a wide and uniform expanse of red berries vines with some specialised plots of land and associated to olive groves. The vine of the Troia grapes spread between the southern area of the province of Foggia and the north of the Land of Bari. Canosa, for its position, shared the flat side of the province of Foggia and the hill area of the Land of Bari. The cultivation of the Troia grapes began in the second half of the 19th century in the sunny and dry lands next to the Ofanto river. Here tha Pavoncelli family and La Rochefoucauld planted large cultivations of that local vine already tested to produce with such climatic conditions.
So since 1870 the wine-growing increased in Canosa with the grant by emphyteusis of lands on the hills surrounding the built-up area. Just some years after and more exactly in 1882 the “Viticulture and oenology magazine” published the first scientific description of the Troia grapes. The way of cultivating the grapes was the ancient way practised by people from Asia and Greece and the Romans called it “humilis sine adminculo” and “vitis capitata” known as alberello (arbusculum) with vine shoots (brachia), the buds (gemmae) and is still authoritative in the world viticulture. The sixth of a meter by a meter, the pruning by two spurs and with two buds and an average production of 50-70 quintals per hectare. The rebirth of the viticulture and the new fixtures went on for some decades till 1892 when France and Italy broke with their trade relations. It was a ruinous year for the Apulian wine-growing : the wine price plummeted from 50 lire( former Italian money) to 5 lire per hectolitre. With this event came out the fact that beside the development of the wine-growing there wasn’t any improvement in the techniques and there weren’t any experiences in the wine preservation and care and people were used to selling the product as must. At the end of the century many economists expressed their own pessimism. At the end of the 19th century Filippo D’Addiego wrote “…while the viticulture is still muddling, the scientific wine-production techniques are just born and therefore our production is still at the mercy of foreigners who buy our must-wine to package and send it everywhere under an other name…” The Troia Grapes or vine of Canosa was the first matter for the production of a wine known all arund Europe as “the wine of Barletta” because of the considerable product quantity coming from the hinterland and concentrated here to be then sent by rail transport or by sea and it therefore took that name. The gradual downsizing of the fixtures for the Troia Grapes increased in the 70’s when it was replaced by the more productive Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Barbera, Ciliegiolo Lambrusco, etc… with the new fixtures “a tendone”. And a reversal isn’t expected for the moment.
Follows, by region, a list of all DOC and DOCG where use is permitted of this vine and a selection of producers who use it in one of their wines.
- Cacc'e Mmitte - 35-60%
- Castel del Monte - max 100%
- Orta Nova - max 40%
- Rosso Barletta - min. 70%
- Red Canosa - min. 65%
- Rosso di Cerignola - 55-85%
Viticulture and winemaking
Environmental and cultural characteristics and needs : it has medium leaf, pentagonal, five-lobed, large cluster, pyramid, simple or winged, medium compact, medium berry, spheroidal, with plenty of skin covered with bloom, thick and firm, almost leathery, pale violet; has little fleshy pulp and the berry is separated with difficulty from the pedicel. The production is average, it adapts easily to any form of training and pruning and do not have any special needs of land in warm climates.
Diseases and adversity : she tolerance 's average powdery mildew , poor to downy mildew . Due to the high texture of the skin, good resistance to weather and has difficulty with the warm wind, typical of southern areas.
The vine is fairly vigorous with lots of girth and carries large, rather compact, pyramidal (sometimes “winged”) clusters of violet coloured grapes which ripen mid-season. It is adaptable to a variety of soils and does not suffer unduly from Puglia’s high temperatures, although hot winds may cause problems.
Uva di Troia may be used by itself or blended with such grapes as Bombino Nero, Montepulciano or Sangiovese. Where DOC wines are concerned, the grape is the principal component of the wines Rosso Barletta and Rosso Canosa; Castel del Monte may also be produced as a pure Uva di Troia varietal wine; it is also used in Cacc'e Mmitte di Lucera (35-60%), Orta Nova (up to 40%) and Rosso di Cerignola
Ampelographic characteristics: middle, pentagonal, pentalobed leaf, big, pyramidal, semi-compact bunch, it can be winged- middle, spherical grape with a pruinose, thick, very firm, violet coloured peel. Maturation: middle Vigour: good Wine characteristics: dry flavour, alcoholic, middle acidity. It comes under the DOC (Registered Designation of Origin) Cacc’e mmitte of Lucer, Red of Cerignola, Red Canosa, Red Barletta and Castel dl Monte.
Nero di Troia, Sumarello, Uva di Canosa, Uva di Barletta, Troiano, Trani, Grape Navy, Tranese, and Uva della Marina.