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Bianca grapes

The Bianca grape is a Hungarian white wine variety that was developed in the 1960s in northeast Hungary, in what is currently the Eger wine region.

Mostly used as blending grape as well as for making dry varietals and sweet dessert wines, the grape commercially got attention as late as 1982, when before that it was produced only as a locally consumed genetically modified vine.

Historically, the vine is a cross of two grapes and has only been recently found in 1963 by a team comprising of three viticulturists.

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Since 1982, the variety has gained immense popularity among organic vineyards, some of whom appreciate the variety for its high resistance against common fungal diseases and insects.

Being simple, to cultivate, the variety does not have to be shown special skills in wine production while exhibiting traits that make it suitable to be grown in any continental region of Europe.

Parentage of Bianca

The Bianca grape was founded in 1963 by a team of viticulturists Laszlo Bereznai and Jozsef Csizmazia in the Kolyuketoviti culture institute. The viticulturists crossed the Slovenia wine grape Bouvier, that itself is an offspring of Pinot variety, with Eger 2 grape and called it Egri Csillagok 40 thatin Hungarian translates to ‘star of Eger’ with the ‘40’ being its breeding code.

The grape registered itself as ‘Bianca’ only in 1982 when it started gaining attention.

Later in the coming decade, the variety was crossed with the Petra variety in Serbia to create two different pink berried varieties – the Bačka and the Rubinka that got authorization to be used in wine production since 2002.

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Wine regions of Bianca

Bianca remains an exclusive eastern European variety with the majority of the production being in the Kunsag of Hungary with 1,137 hectares reported in 2012.

In other regions, the variety has been cultivated in the Krasnodar region of Russia, where some 2,371 hectares of Bianca reported in 2009.

In Moldova too, the grape is cultivated,. although only a minor 37 acres reported as of 2012.

Some acreage of Bianca is also found in the US. Bianca vineyards have been found to be cultivating the grape variety in states like Ohio and Virginia, where it’s started to become a popular wine venture.

Hungary, unlike its European counterparts of France and Italy, is not a predominantly wine producing country, however, it might be that their famous white variety will soon become a popular favourite among American winemakers.

Wine styles

Bianca produces normally neutral wines with moderate alcohol levels influenced by some intense floral aromas.

Winemakers usually use this grape as a blending variety or introduce certain modifications in fermentation or oak process to give way to unique varietal flavors.

Bianca wines also exhibit certain aromas that very heavily depend on the harvesting time. Being very prone to oxidation and developing wine faults, Jancis Robinson cautions winemakers to be careful of timing and duration of fermentation.

Viticulture

Bianca is an early budding, mid-ripening variety. It is very hardy during the winters and can resist some of the harshest cold hazards like frost damage.

Bianca is an early ripening variety that makes it best for cultivation in harsh continental climates.

When ripe, the vine produces either compactly thick or loose berry structures that are small in size and have a waxy coating on them.

Due to its high susceptibility to develop a large canopy, the variety needs attention through canopy management techniques and high yielding.

The variety has strong resistance to fungal infections although it is weak towards powdery mildew that to be brought upon by poor weather conditions.

Food pair up

Bianca is a mildly sweet, mildly alcoholic grape that produces mild sparkling wines.

As can be expected, the Hungarian food and local east European cuisine that is characterized as being very simple and rustic to its core, is suited with its consumption.

Some elements of Italy and Spain too should go well, for example, their salty cheeses and medium spiced risottos and tortillas.

Author

Michael Bredahl

Michael Bredahl

Wine Writer

I have been online since it all began, with blogging and creating websites. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one of my passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂

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