Evolution since the Middle Ages: Italy

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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The vinum reticum of Verona praised by Pliny was presumably the ancestor of today’s recioto and amarone. It was relatively common for wines to be made from grapes dried on the vine cut off from the flow of sap by having their stems twisted, or torcolato (the name of a modern white Recioto made in Veneto’s breganze from partially dried, though not (today) twisted, vespaiola grapes). The dried-grape tradition was presumably enhanced in 1204 when Venice conquered Crete, the stronghold of this classical heritage. The result seems to have been a revival of dried-grape winemaking throughout the growing Venetian empire, not just in Veneto but on the islands and coast of what is now slovenia and croatia.