Biancame, native Italian white grape variety (National registry code number 25) grown in the Marche, mainly around the cities of Urbino and Pesaro. It also known as Bianchello after the best-known wine made from it, Bianchello di Metauro DOC from the province of Pesaro in the northern part of the Marche region on Italy’s Adriatic coast. It also has a leading role in Colli di Rimini DOC Biancame, and a minor one in Colli di Rimini DOC Bianco (whose main variety is Trebbiano Romagnolo), both of which are in Romagna.

Could Biancame be Trebbiano Toscano or a Greco? Having made a detailed study of scientific literature, including work by Fontana (2001), Ian D’Agata concluded that ‘the question of a possible Biancame/Trebbiano Toscano identity remains unanswered,’ (Ian D’Agata, p196-7). Biancame remains separate from Trebbiano Toscano in Italy’s National Registry. ‘Biancame is also known as Bianchello (as in Bianchello di Metauro), Balsamina Bianca, and Biancone (but this is likely another variety entirely typical of Elba and long confused with Trebbiano Toscano, hence the erroneous identification with Biancame). Experts believing Biancame to be a relative of Greco are wrong. More research is needed to confirm Morbidella might be identical to Biancame,’ (Ian D’Agata, p196-7).

The vine | Ian D’Agata (2024, p196-7) says Biancame has large, cylindrical-conical bunches with medium-sized yellow-green berries. ‘Generally described as having medium-large pentagonal leaves with a lightly downy underside–Trebbiano Toscano’s leaf is much more hairy; large, cylindrical conical bunches that often have a bifid tip. Its medium-size yellow-green berries with very little bloom is one of the distinguishing features of Biancame: even when fully mature, its berries never turn golden yellow or reddish whereas those of Trebbiano Toscano (or at least, some biotypes of it) and of many other Trebbiano varieties do show these colours. In this respect, Biancame lives up to its name, bianco meaning white. The variety is vigorous and very resistant to pathogens, even more so than other Trebbianos. Only botrytis can cause problems in rainy years.

Rootstocks | Biancame takes well to rootstocks K5BB and 41B on fresher soils, while 140 is the rootstock of choice on dry ones (Ian D’Agata, p197).

Clones | Ian D’Agata (2014 p197) cites 6 official clones: CSV-AP PS-2, CSV-AP PS-3, CSV-AP PS-7, CSV-AP PS-8, CAB 19, and CAB 20.

Vineyard area | 2010 Italy had 2,599 hectares (6,422 acres) of Biancame (Oxford Companion to Wine, 2015, p80).

Wine style | Light-bodied with crisp, fresh, fairly neutral, lightly herbal, white fruit, lemon-citrus.

Bibliography

Ian D’Agata, Native wine grapes of Italy (University of California Press, 2014)

Italian Wine Unplugged (Positive Press, 2017), p159.