Garganega is a white wine grape native to Italy, among that country’s oldest, most important and best white wine grapes (Dr Ian d’Agata: 2019, p.312). Garganega is the grape responsible for the world-famous Soave, among the earliest documented wines in Italy.

Garganega-named grapes: There are two distinct Garganega-named grapes: Garganega Comune (true Garganega) and Garganega Grossa (officially known as Dorona).

Family relationships: Garganega boasts a first-degree relationship with many other grapes such as Trebbiano Toscano, Albana, Malvasia Bianca di Candia, Cataratto and Susumaniello. It has also been an important grape used in crossings.

SynonymsSicilyGrecanico Dorato. Garganega is the same grape as Sicily’s Grecanico Dorato (though the two are listed separately in Italy’s National Registry).

Biotypes: It is not surprising that many different biotypes of an ancient and well diffused grape like Garganega exist. However, Garganega Tipica is the standard and most common one. Grecanico Dorato (likely not of Greek origin as the name might suggest) is believed to be a biotype of Garganega that has adapted to its Sicilian terroir.

Clones: ISV-CV 84 and ISV-CV 11 and 18 yield loosely packed bunches making them suitable to air-drying and sweet wine production.

Where grown in Italy: Veneto: Soave DOC. | Soave Superiore DOCG. | Recioto di Soave DOCG. | Gambellara DOC. | Recioto di Gambellara DOCG. | Bianco di Custoza DOC or Custom DOC (blend). Sicily: Alcamo DOC, among others. Also grown in: Lombardy. | Emilia-Romagna. | Lazio. | Umbria.

Viticulture: Garganega gives dependable and generous yields, the latter albeit at the expense of wine quality. In Italy Garganega usually ripens in September, though October harvests are not uncommon.

Wine style: Well-made unoaked Garganega is steely and mineral-like. The finest are complex and age-worthy. Typical flavours: white flowers, apricot, citrus, hay and floral notes, Golden Delicious apple.

Specific styles: Garganega is usually made as a dry, still white. In Soave, the wines can be made with 100% Garganega, however, it is often blended with Trebbiano di Soave (Verdicchio) and Chardonnay (which can overpower). Recioto di Soave DOCG (rich, honeyed and floral) and Recioto di Gambellara DOCG (mineral and slightly oxidative) are sweet whites made from air-dried grapes, traditionally without botrytis though this has recently become more common. As Grecanico Dorato in Sicily, it can be found as a dry white monovarietal but is commonly blended with grapes like Inzolia and Chardonnay.

Bibliography

Italian Wine Unplugged (Positive Press, 2017), p.105-6.