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Wines with Rollo grapes

by | Sep 9, 2016

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The Rollo grape, most popularly known as Vermentino grape, is a white wine variety grown in several parts stretched across the Mediterranean region.

Wines with Rollo grapes

It is grown predominantly in several Northern provinces of Italy, as well as the island of Sardinia, but a considerable share of this grape’s produce has also been recorded from several non-Italian regions as well, like France and Australia that contribute to most of its non-Italian produce.

It is a popular white variety of the Mediterranean and usually has varying characteristics as well as wine structures, pertaining to the region, it is cultivated in, although the grape has through all this time, remained a predominantly Italian produce.

Origins of Rollo

Rollo remains an old variety and has somewhat confusing origins since the grape’s exact records and findings remain a mystery and to a greater extent, missing.

What is known however is that the grape was brought into Italian countryside of the north by several travellers and tradesmen who crossed this area several times, bringing with them cereals, essentials, umber of commodities and of course, grape varieties.

Wine grape varieties

DNA analysis has allowed ampelographers to have a look inside the grape’s rather shady origins, but have come to several solid conclusions.

The grape however, shares synonyms with several grape varieties that seem to be cultivated in some regions adjoining Italian DOCs that grow Rollo, for example, Provence in France that borders Italian Liguria, grows the grape Rolle although DNA analysis is yet to conclude on that part.

What has become known though, is that the grape most probably originated on the Isle of Madeira in Spain, and got imported to Corsica by Spanish travellers, traders and conquistadors? In Corsica, Rollo cultivations can still be found to this day.

These sailors of the middle ages, believed to have taken with them Rollo seeds from the Spanish coast, planted their very first grapes in Corsica where it spread further east into Italian mainland and of course to areas adjoining Italy, most notably France, its twin ally of wine production. In Italy, and of all the regions that produced Rollo, the DOC of Vermentino di Galllura, in Sardinia, was the first region to get DOC status to produce the Rollo grape.

Several other regions followed, like Vermentinodei Colli di Luni in Tuscany and Colli di Luni of Liguria that is attributed to be some of the earliest DOCs after the DOC status awarded in Sardinia.

Existence of clones

Since Rollo has a wide span across the Mediterranean, its presence is also felt through its several clones that exist locally.

As many as 40 Rollo clones exist, although all of them have been found to be almost 99% identical.

Perhaps the only thing that could be differing in these varieties is their varying viticulture characteristics and some differing cultivation periods.

Common characteristics of Rollo wines

Due to Rollo’s wide span across the Mediterranean, its cultivation and farming vary from region to region. In the end, however, most Rollo wines give off certain common characteristics with only some hints of differing traits.

In most varietal wines, Rollo gives off its typical white variety characteristics of floral aromas comprising of citrus fruits, green apples, peaches with some hints of spices and herbs.

It is indeed a freshly smelling white variety. On the palate, it possesses the same flavours as the individual smells, that are the dominant flavours of apples, mixed with some citrus fruits and sugar, combined with a salty tang and an almond pause.

Varietal Rollo grapes are robust structured and can be big, ripe and fully flavoured with some crispness in their overall characteristic.

Probably because of the differing acid levels from region to region, Rollo grapes are picked young in Sardinia, contrary to the period that differs from Rollo growing regions.

This is done to maintain the acidity levels that are required to produce a crisp sparkling. The medium alcohol, fuzziness, mixed with the fresh fruits described above, gives Rollo the perfect alternative in an absence of such notable white varieties like Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc.

Food pairing

Rollo wines can best be enjoyed local dishes and rustic items from coastal Italy.

Toss a salad dressed with some olive oil and serve with mild spicy pasta or spaghetti to complement the sweet, apple-citric flavour of Rollo to get the best of your meal!


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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