Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Italian red grape variety, or more accurately the name of three distinct Italian varieties:

  1. (1) the Bonarda of the oltrepò pavese and colli piacentini (also planted in southern puglia), which is, in fact, not Bonarda at all but rather the croatina grape;

  2. (2) the Bonarda Novarese, used to soften spanna in its range of doc reds in the Novara and Vercelli hills, which again is not Bonarda, but uva rara, a variety more widely employed in the Oltrepò Pavese; and

  3. (3) the so-called Bonarda Piemontese, an aromatic variety which has been virtually abandoned because of its small bunches and low productivity, although it covered 30% of the region’s vineyard before the advent of phylloxera.

Scattered patches remain on the left bank of the Tanaro, particularly in the township of Govone, and the Italian vine census of 2010 found 749 ha/1,850 acres of ‘Bonarda Nera’, very much less than Croatina but more than Uva Rara. The only DOC wines in production which bear the name Bonarda are from the Oltrepò Pavese and are, confusingly, made from Croatina.