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Albana grapes

by | Sep 21, 2016

The tradition of winemaking in Italy goes back thousands of years. Some of the country’s best known grape varieties have deep rooted histories and written records. 


The Italians say, makes winemakers and aficionados come closer to the grape variety in question.

And that is probably necessary when it comes to full-time winemaking, as the information that becomes available only gives the grape more prestige and value to it.

Almost the entire grape varieties of global leadership have either full written historical records or have their past full uncovered.

Albana is one such grape variety that invokes appreciation as well intrigue since the grape’s past is both concrete as well as confusing!

That is also quite expected, since Italy’s own history is as rich as the grape varieties it produces every year.

Wine grape varieties

Albana is a white grape variety that is predominantly produced in the northeast region of Emilia-Romagna.

Not entirely white, Albana’s grape clusters are somewhat golden-yellow in colour. Since there is no category for yellow grapes, however, this variety is thus put under the white variety.

Albana is used to produce refreshing young whites and is a versatile variety. Several methods exist on its wine development and those are used to develop secco(dry),amabile (semi-sweet) and passito (sweet) wines.

Thus, in regards to the different variations in its winemaking, the variety is a popular and sought after grape in Emilia-Romagna.

Origins of Albana

Albana has very specific written records that go back to the 1300s.

Several agronomists and agricultural writers seem to have mentioned, either directly or indirectly, descriptions of Albana.

List most other grapes of its day, Albana has through all these centuries, earned several nicknames and synonyms that went either missing as decades passed while some of them are still spoken today.

The history of Europe is as old and as volatile as the continent’s grape varieties and naming specifically each and every grape becomes a difficult task for most ampelographers.

It can never be that one grape that was known 700 years ago, might be the very same grape that exists today.

Most etymologies that are done now-a-days are performed through evidences and records that relate to the grape found in descriptions to the ones that we find today.

Several writers like Pliny the Elder, who lived and valued as among the most influential of Roman writers, described several grapes with similar names and characteristics.

His works have thankfully, uncovered several of the grape varieties that are still cultivated in Italy today.

Nevertheless, Albana’s written records clash with the grape’s antiquity, which make it a very interesting piece of study.

Albana’s one of the first records that has yet been uncovered, dates back to 1305 when an Italian writer Pietro de Crescenzi described the grape as ‘being a perfect agent for making powerful wines’.

Ampelographers and several others, however, wonder whether the Albana that de Crescenzi described is the same as we find it today, considering that in these 700 years, Italy and its adjoining European territories have seen a number of events that can never guarantee that a grape’s name remain constant for seven centuries.

Besides, the grape is named after Alba, ‘white’ in Latin. Another theory, which suggests the grape, is named after the Alban Hills of northeast, have again put ampelographers into a heist.

Its genetic analyses have however, shown that it related to the Garganega family of grapes, which could throw more light on its exact origins.

Wines with Albana grapes


Albana wines are primarily developed by three methods, differing in fermentation processes. Those sweet wines are primarily developed by concentrating the sugars first, before putting into fermentation tanks and letting it to ferment from week to months.

The dry and semi-sweet wines on the other hand, developed by either diluting sugars or leaving it normally as such into tanks to develop semi-sweet wines.

In most cases, dry Alba wines give primary notes of nuts and fresh fruits like green apples, pineapples and peaches.

Some sweet wines give heavy notes of cherries and strawberries and nuts, dipped in sugar syrups. These are however, costly and expensive.

Food pairing

Alba variants can be enjoyed with several items. A sweet wine with a simple apple pie, or a plate of baked red peppers stuffed with goats’ cheese with the dry one, Alba will give zippy and bright flavours.

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Michael Bredahl

Michael Bredahl

Wine Writer

Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂

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