Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Raboso, name of two closely related but distinct tough red grape varieties grown in the veneto region of north east Italy. Raboso Piave is more common, on 730 ha/1,803 acres in 2010, as opposed to Raboso Veronese grown on less than 300 ha. Rabosa Piave is characteristic of the flat valley floor of piave and most is grown in the province of Treviso. Raboso Veronese is sometimes interplanted with Raboso Piave but is also grown in Ferrara and Ravenna in Emilia-Romagna. The name is thought to derive from the Italian rabbioso, or angry, presumably a reference to consumer reaction to the uncompromisingly high acidity and rough tannins which characterize the grape and its wine. This is a grape variety which has excellent resistance to disease and rot, but which makes cabernet sauvignon look rather mellow. Unfortunately Raboso is not notably high in the alcohol which might compensate for its astringency and can therefore taste extremely austere in youth. Stalwart defenders of the variety insist that with full ripeness and careful handling in the winery, wines produced can be truly distinguished, the Veneto’s answer to the Nebbiolo of Piemonte or the Sangiovese of Tuscany. The reputation and price level of Raboso make it difficult to justify this kind of investment, and vineyard plantings, which continue to decline, reflect this fact.