Croatina | Red wine grape native to Italy. Croatina is the subject of much confusion as in some regions it is referred to as Bonarda (which is a different grape altogether). Local synonyms include Nebbiolo di Gattinara, Spanna di Ghemme. Croatina is not the same as any of the Bonarda-some- thing grapes (eg. Bonarda Piemontese, Bonarda Novarese).

Wines | Lombardy: Bonarda dell’Oltrepò Pavese DOC; Piedmont: Colline Novaresi DOC Croatina, Coste della Sesia DOC Croatina, Bramaterra DOC (blend); Emilia-Ro- magna: Colli Piacentini DOC Bonarda, Gutturnio DOC (blend). Also grown in Veneto and Sardinia.

Viticulture | Croatina is an irregular producer but its resistance to powdery mildew (oidium) made it popular with producers and led to increased plantings. It has very thick skins giving lots of color and tannin.

Wine style | Deep purple wines with fleshy and creamy sweet fruit like black cherry. Short macerations are used to manage high (and sometimes slightly rustic) tannins. Croatina is prone to reduction.

Wine styles | Croatina is typically used for dry wines though historically it was made with a bit of residual sugar to balance out the high tannins. While monovarietals are made (mostly in IGP wines), Croatina is an important grape in blends (with Barbera in Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna or Nebbiolo in Alto Piemonte). It is increasingly used in small portions in Amarone della Valpolicella.

Bibliography

See Ian D’Agata, Native Wine Grapes of Italy (University of California Press, 2014).

Italian Wine Unplugged (Positive Press, 2017), p.97-98.