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Trebbiano Toscano Wine Guide: Explore the White Grape Variety

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Nov 9, 2020 • 2 min read

Trebbiano Toscano is a white grape variety used in the production of both balsamic vinegar and bright, refreshing white wines. The Italian grape is a celebrated and widely-planted variety throughout Italy, but it is also heralded in French wine, where it lends its acidic bite and low sugars to the crafting of brandy under the name ugni blanc.

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What Is Trebbiano Toscano?

Trebbiano Toscano is the most common member of the trebbiano group of grapes, a vast collection of white wine varietals planted worldwide. It’s name changes depending on where in the world you are: In France, for example, it’s known as ugni blanc; elsewhere in Italy, it can go by procanico, brucanico, or santoro (just for starters).

Confusingly, trebbiano toscano is distinct from trebbiano romagnolo (grown in Emilia-Romagna and used in wines like Trebbiano di Romagna), trebbiano d'Abruzzo (the grape variety grown in the central Italian appellation of the same name), and trebbiano di Soave (since understood to be verdicchio), though there are similarities in characteristics across the board.

What Are the Characteristics of Trebbiano Toscano Grapes?

Trebbiano Toscano might be one of the most widely-planted white grapes in the wine world, but it doesn’t always inspire the most poetic ballads. Apart from its characteristically dry notes of lemon, green apple, stone fruit, and salinity, trebbiano is mostly known for its high yields and adaptability, and overall average, neutral quality, which is why it is so frequently included in blends—most often with malvasia bianca.

Its high acidity, low sugar content, and overall resistance to rot, however, makes it ideal for the production of distilled spirits like cognac in the damp Charentais region of France.

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Where Are Trebbiano Toscano Grapes Grown?

In Tuscany, trebbiano Toscano is an all-purpose grape: It’s even included in some red blends, thanks to its neutral flavors and high levels of bright acidity. The central region of Lazio produces the rare DOCG wines with trebbiano Toscano, but the grape is also associated with wines made under the Orvieto appellation in Umbria. It appears in 85% of DOC appellations in Italy.

In France, where the grape is thought to have arrived in the country in the fourteenth century along with the papal court, which relocated from Rome to Avignon around the same time, it is primarily known as ugni blanc—other alternate names include clairette ronde, clairette de vence, and rossola—plantings are concentrated in the Cognac and Armagnac regions, where it is used in the production of brandy and Floc de Gascogne and known as St. Émilion. It also maintains popularity along the coast of Provence in Charente, Bordeaux, and the island of Corsica.

Trebbiano Toscano is also grown in small quantities in wines from Bulgaria and Portugal, where it is known as thalia.

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Foods to Pair With Trebbiano Toscano

Since trebbiano Toscano produces bright, dry white wines, pair it with dishes on the light, herbaceous side of the spectrum: fresh basil pesto, seafood (drizzled with lots of tangy lemon juice), hard aged cheeses like Parmesan and Pecorino, cream-based sauces on pasta or pizza, and simple antipasti like citrus-cured olives and anchovies.

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