Nosiola. You would be forgiven if you had never heard of this grape. It is the last of the native white grape varieties in Trentino.
This ancient grape was once found throughout the region, but now seems to only be found on the hills of Pressano and in the Valle dei Laghi.
We are exploring grapes that are new to us with my colleagues at Wine Pairing weekend, so get ready to hear about exciting wines that you have not heard of, many of which could use your support to stay around!
We are led on this journey by Wendy Klik of A Day in the Life on the Farm. You will find links to my colleagues articles below.
If you want to explore more, you can join us on Twitter on Saturday, March 12th at 8 am Pacific time or 11 am Eastern time, as we share the “new to us” varieties we found. Just follow and use the hashtag #WinePW to join the conversation.
Back to the Nosiola. Perhaps we should start with where this is in Italy.
We are in Northern Italy. The northern edge of the region borders Austria, in fact the Alto Adige portion of the region used to be part of Austria and is also known as Südtirol. You might also see the region referred to as Trentino-South Tyrol.
The Dolomites of the Italian Alps tower to in the North and the Adige river flows down the western part of the region. Southwest of the region, you will find the beautiful Lake Garda.
The hills of Pressano that we spoke of earlier sit North of the city of Trento. The town of Pressano is about 9.5 km from Trento (as the crow flies). This tiny town has around 583 people.
It is thought that the name “Nosiola” comes from the Italian word “nocciola” which means hazelnut, and the wine does have toasted hazelnut notes.
The growings in the Valle dei Laghi are mostly used to produce a Vin Santo. This is a rare wine, with a handful of producers making a total of around 30,000 half bottles (source Wine Grapes, Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding, Jose Vouillamoz; pg 738 )
The Nosiola grown around the hills of Pressano is more often used for dry wines. This grape is native to this region It is thought to be an offspring of Rezé, a grape of the Valais region in the Swiss Alps. The variety is mid to late ripening and the dry versions are aromatic and delicious with that waft of hazelnut.
Our wine comes from Cesconi who are working to elevate and save this variety. As I research vineyard acreage for this grape I found that in 2000 there were 193 hectares in Italy (Wine Grapes pg. 738) The Oxford Wine companion (Pg 511) listed 79 hectares left of this variety in a 2010 survey. On the Cesconi site they site just 65 hectares currently left. (So go find some and increase the demand!)
Azienda Agricola Cesconi
Azienda Agricola Cesconi is a small family-owned winery has a winemaker tradition going back to 1751. Bernardino Cesconi transported the region’s Nosiola grapes to Innsbruck via wagons pulled by oxen. Later his son Rinaldo and grandson Paolo made wines for the taverns of Trento. Paulo and his sons, Alessandro, Franco, Roberto, and Lorenzo, expanded the winemaking and brought it into the modern age.
Their vineyards are organic and they utilize biodynamic principles. These vineyards are on the hills of Pressano, that we spoke of before and in the Valle dei Laghi (valley of many lakes) north of Lake Garda.
The winery is located on the hillside in Pressano, surrounded by a 6-hectare block that ranges from 300-500 meters (950 to 1650 feet). It is here that they grow the Nosiola.
The sedimentary soils here are deep and rich in minerals from the Lower Triassic period (260 million years ago). The climate is continental with deep diurnal shifts.
2018 Cesconi Nosiola, Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT
Nosiola is not one of the 4 varieties allowed in the Trento DOC. The winery chooses to label this as IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti (Vineyards of the Dolomites).
The vineyard where they grow the Nosiola is above 500 meters north-east of Pressano. Vines average 35 years old and are pergola trained.
They destem part of the grapes and macerate for 4-5 days, then direct press. The juice ferments partially in stainless steel and partially in large acacia barrels. They like acacia wood because it allows for that bit of oxygen that we love barrels for and does not over power the delicate notes of this variety. It is in barrel on its lees for 9 months before bottling.
This still wine can age for decades.
The Cesconi Nosiola was dry with a medium lemon color. I was surprised at the strong aromas wafting from the glass. There were notes of ripe yellow apple and pear that reminded me a bit of a wine from the Jura. There was also something a bit nutty about the nose, and I had read that often people get hazelnut from this wine (a nut that grows in the region, also).
On its own the wine was pleasant with an unexpected richness and weight on my palate. After tasting this, I could see how this wine could age. In some ways it is reminiscent of an aging Roussanne.
Production – 10,000 bottles – 12% abv – $25.99 (via Wine.com)
We created a version of Canederli. This is a bread dumpling found in the region. Traditionally this poor man’s dish was a means to utilize stale bread, mixing the stale bread with milk, eggs and alpine ingredients like speck and cheese, and ladling in some beef broth. It seems to me very much a comfort food like matzo ball soup.
I utilized things I had on hand and could easily find and based my recipe on this one from The Kitchen with Great Italian Chefs
I cut the recipe down to fit for just Michael and I and adjusted some of the ingredients. As I had read about the hazelnut connection with Nosiola, I added some ground hazelnuts for some of the flour in the dish, subbed out the cheeses and used diced prosciutto, as I could not find Speck. The recipe is at the bottom of the post.
With the Canederli, the Nosiola was beautiful, causing the smoked meat in the dumplings to pop! This was altogether an immensely comforting pairing.
We enjoyed this for lunch and later in the day pulled the wine back out as we were having dinner. It paired beautifully with tuna steak!
I encourage you to look for this wine and others from this grape. This is an opportunity to try something new and unexpected. Your support will help this variety to survive and keep our wines from becoming homogenized. Variety is the spice of life!
#WinePW Obsure wine finds!
Read on and see what obscure and under-appreciated grapes my colleagues found!
- A Day in the Life on the Farm/ Join in the Fun as We Explore New Varietals and Share our Discoveries/ https://adayinthelifeonthefarm.blogspot.com/
- Culinary Adventures with Camilla / Exploring Pineau d’Aunis Rosé: Two Bottles and Chicken Two Ways
- Our Good Life / Montepulciand d’Abruzzo and Italian Stuffed Peppers
- Avvinare/Exploring Ancient Grapes Prokupe and Vranac At Kosovo’s Stone Castle
- The Quirky Cork / Discovering Asproudi, a Re-Emerging Greek Grape
- Wineivore / Biodynamic Portugese Sparklers with Goan Cuisine
- ENOFYLZ Wine Blog/A Taste of Castelão; 2017 Casal Figueira “Tinto”
- Cooking Chat / Pork Tenderloin Pasta Recipe with a New Italian Wine
- Vino Travels/ Barone di Serramarrocco Pignatello with Barbequed Ribs
- Wine Predator with Gwendolyn Alley/ Discover Portugal’s Native Grapes From Three Regions Paired with Peri Peri Chicken & Discover Portugal’s Native Grapes in Esporão’s Organic Blends Paired with Alentejo Pork and Clams
More on Italian wines from Crushed Grape Chronicles
- Barbaresco – Exploring this Elegant and Powerful wine
- Le Marche Italy – Verdicchio and beyond
- Banish me to Mantua, with a glass of Lambrusco Mantovano
- Lazio – Exploring low intervention wines inspired by tradition and nature
- Bacon and Butternut Pasta with a Langhe DOC Nebbiolo
More Wine Pairing Ideas from Crushed Grape Chronicles
We created a version of Canederli. This is a bread dumpling found in the Trentino region of Northern Italy. Traditionally this poor man’s dish was a means to utilize stale bread, mixing the stale bread with milk, eggs, and alpine ingredients like speck and cheese, and ladling in some beef broth. It seems to me very much a comfort food like matzo ball soup.
I utilized things I had on hand and could easily find and based my recipe on this one from
The Kitchen with Great Italian Chefs https://www.greatitalianchefs.com/recipes/canederli-dumplings-recipe
We paired this with a Nosiola, an indigenous wine grape of the region.
- 1 cup of stale bread in ½ inch cubes
- ¾ cup of milk
- 1 egg beaten
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
- 1 tbs unsalted butter
- ½ white onion finely diced
- ½ cup diced prosciutto (or pancetta or speck)
- ¼ cup grated Grand Cru cheese (this is an alpine cheese, you can use Emmentaler if you can find it)
- ¼ cup Jarlsberg cheese grated
- ¼ cup ground hazelnuts
- ¼ cup flour
- ¼ cup fresh parsley chopped
- 2 cups of beef stock
- 2 tbs grated Grana Padano (or Parmesan)
- Place the chopped bread in a bowl with the milk, to soak while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. When it bubbles add the onion and proscuitto.
- Cook until the onions are translucent and the meat is starting to carmelize.
- Add the onion and meat to the bread mixture and stir
- Add the beaten egg, cheeses, flour, ground hazelnuts, and chopped parsley.
- Mix then put in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.
- Divide the mixture into balls. You can make 6 - 2 ½ inch balls or 12 – 1 ¼ inch balls.
- Cook in boiling salted water, 5 minutes for the larger balls, 3 minutes for the smaller ones.
- Heat the beef broth.
- Arrange 3 dumplings in a bowl, ladle in the beef broth, top with grated Grana Padano (or parmesan), sprinkle with a bit of ground hazelnut, and finish with fresh parsley.
Instead of a broth, you can sauté the cooked dumplings in brown butter and sage.
Amount Per Serving Calories 539Total Fat 34gSaturated Fat 15gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 16gCholesterol 153mgSodium 1936mgCarbohydrates 25gFiber 2gSugar 6gProtein 34g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
Join us for our new video series “The Scenic Route”
A few years back we started taking extended trips driving to wine country. While wine country was the draw, the fact is that to get to wine country, you often have the opportunity to drive through some beautiful places. We planned our travel on the scenic highways and byways along the way, allowing us to soak in some beautiful scenery.
In 2018 we attended the Wine Media Conference in Walla Walla and did a Pre-Conference Excursion to the Yakima Valley. We met Barbara Glover who runs Wine Yakima Valley and she introduced us to many of the local winemakers. The visit was just enough to whet our appetite, and we made a plan to return.
Here begins “The Scenic Route”.
This two-week road trip was packed with multiple wineries and some amazing scenery as we traveled from Las Vegas to Washington State. We found delicious local food, stunning scenery, and our days were filled with Wine and stories.
Our Scenic Route trips have allowed us to visit so many wineries with stories to tell and we wanted to tell them in more depth. So we decided to create an expanded version of “The Scenic Route” visiting and exploring the area in and around wine regions.
These are beautiful places because good grapes enjoy a view.
Join us as we take
“The Scenic Route”
Episode 1 is Available Now!
You can enjoy Episode 1 where we visit the Ribbon Ridge AVA in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and meet Dan Warnshuis of Utopia Winery.
And be sure to follow our YouTube Channel so you won’t miss an episode! Crushed Grape Chronicles on YouTube