Lacrima | Native Italian red wine grape classed as an aromatic grape variety. It can be eaten as a table grape, too. It may be related to another aromatic red wine grape, Aleatico (Italian Wine Unplugged, 2017). It faced virtual extinction from its central and southern Italian stamping ground, with only 7ha left in the mid-1980s (Italian Wine Unplugged, 2017). Since then plantings have grown (see data below), most of which are in Le Marche, a region on Italy’s Adriatic coast. This is home to Lacrima’s flagship wine denomination called Lacrima di Morro d’Alba DOC. This also comes in Riserva and air-dried Passito forms – although both may legally be blended with Montepulciano grapes which naturally has a stylistic impact on the wines (especially in terms of tannic expression).

National Registry Code No.: 111 (Ian D’Agata, 2014, p).

The name | In Italian ‘lacrima’ means tear, or tear drop. The Lacrima grape may have got its name from the nearly oval or teardrop-shape of the grape; or from the pyramidal form of its cluster, also resembling tear drops. Another theory holds that the grape brings teardrops to winegrowers’ eyes at harvest due to its fragile, easily split skins (despite its skins not being particularly thin); or in a similar vein the tear moniker arises from the grape splitting at harvest and allowing a tear-like exudate to form on the berry skin.

Relationships | Lacrima has no link at all with either the Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio DOC from Campania or the (rare) Tuscan grape variety Lacrima del Valdarno (Italian Wine Unplugged, 2017).

Viticulture | Lacrima’s thin skins are susceptible to pests and diseases (Italian Wine Unplugged, 2017). It grafts poorly onto American rootstocks, and the vines have a short life-span (Italian Wine Unplugged, 2017). ‘Fast maturing,’ (OCW: 2015, p.405).

Where grown | Emilia-Romagna. | Le Marche. | Puglia. | Tuscany.

Vineyard area, production2003 Around 60ha in production in 2003. | 2006 Production:13,288hl (Federdoc). | 2007 Production:10,841hl (Federdoc). | 2008 Production: 15,027hl (Federdoc). | 2009 14,530hl (Federdoc). | 2010 420 ha/1,037 acres (2010 Italian vine census as reported by OCW: 2015, p.405). Production: 15,970hl (Federdoc). | 2017 258ha (Italian Wine Unplugged, 2017).

Tasting note | The wine is very deeply coloured. ‘Wild strawberry-scented red grape,’ (OCW: 2015, p.405). Other descriptors, flavours: black cherry, lavender, floral, red rose, cinnamon, nutmeg.

With food | Local salami and ‘ciauscolo’. Lorenzo Marotti Campi recommends what he calls ‘oily’ meat like liver. Other suggestions include boar stew, white meat like rabbit, or red meat like lamb. Pasta with tomato-based meat sauces. Medium-aged cheeses.

Bibliography

Doug Wregg, Les Caves de Pyrène list (July 2011).

Ian D’Agata, Native wine grapes of Italy (University of California Press, 2014), p321-323.

Italian Wine Unplugged (Positive Press, 2017), p119-120.

Oxford Companion to Wine 4th edition ed. Jancis Robinson MW and Julia Harding MW (Oxford University Press, 2015), p.405.