Nosiola is a native Italian white grape variety found in Trentino, Lombardia (‘Lombardy’) and Veneto producing both dry wines and one of the world’s greatest sweet wines (air-dried, late harvested), such as Trentino Vino Santo (Dr Ian D’Agata, 2014, p.375-6).

National registry code number | 173.

Origin | Nosiola is most likely an offspring of Rèze, an ancient Valais variety. Nosiola was long thought to be the same as Durella but this has been proven false.

The name | Though various theories exist, Ian D’Agata (2014, p.375) says most experts believe Nosiola’s name derives from nocciola – Italian for hazelnut – because the wine has hazelnut aromas and when ripe both the grape and the stalk are hazelnut coloured.

Where grown: Trentino: Nosiola has been linked to Trentino since the 15th century and its isolated geographic location in small mountaintop vineyards saved it from being uprooted in favour of international varieties. Also found in: Lombardy. Veneto.

Viticulture | Nosiola is resilient in inclement weather, a useful quality in its alpine habitat. However, it buds early so it is susceptible to spring frosts and is an irregular producer. In flatland vineyards, it produces copious amounts of large flavourless berries. Conversely, Nosiola reaches its apogee in Trentino’s Valle dei Laghi area which benefits from the drying effect of a local wind called the Ora del Garda.

Typical flavours | Dry Nosiola: hazelnut, white flower, citrus, saline (Dr Ian D’Agata, 2014, p.375-7). | Vino Santo Ripe peach, almond paste, lime, candied pineapple, tropical fruit jelly flavours lifted by the high acidity (Dr Ian D’Agata, 2014, p.375-7).

Wine style: Nosiola exhibits high acidity. Its typical flavour characteristic is hazelnut. Dry still whites are crisp, light and refreshing with concentrated notes of white flowers, fresh green apple, citrus and underlying salinity. Sweet examples are made from late-harvested and air-dried grapes. Called Trentino Vino Santo, these are unctuously sweet, rich and complex, with ripe peach, almond paste, lime, candied pineapple, tropical fruit jelly aromas and flavours.

Wines | Trentino: Trentino DOC. 

Wineries

Certified Biodynamic | Elisabetta Foradori.

Certified organic | Consorzio I Dolomitici Liberi Viticoltori Trentini.

Bibliography

Dr Ian D’Agata (2014), Native Wine Grapes of Italy (University of California Press, 2014) p.375.

Italian Wine Unplugged (Positive Press, 2017), p.122.