Rondinella is a red grape variety native to Italy where it is found in the Veneto region in the north-east of the country. Its name refers to the dark colour of the berry skin (black as the plumage of a small swallow (rondine; plural rondini).
Where grown: In Veneto: Rondinella’s explosion onto the Italian grape and wine scene occurred after the arrival of phylloxera, and improved by being grafted onto American rootstocks. It is an invaluable part of DOC Valpolicella (up to 30%), DOCG Amarone della Valpolicella (up to 30%), DOCG Bardolino Superiore (up to 30%), or DOCG Recioto della Valpolicella Amarone as it confers a lovely herbaceous note to the wines.
The name: This refers to the colour of the berry skin, a dark black likened to the plumage of small swallows or ‘rondine’. Another theory is swallows were especially attracted to Rondinella grapes.
Viticulture: Rondinella has medium-small sized compact bunches. Its hardy nature, adaptability to a range of soils, notable resistance to cold, drought and and consistent, reliable yields make it popular with growers.
Wine style: Rondinella is rarely made as a monovarietal. It adds an appealing herbaceous note to Valpolicella (around 5-35%) and Bardolino (up to 40%). It plays an important role in Recioto wines because it accumulates sugars better than other grapes used.
Wines: Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG (up to 30%). | Bardolino DOC. | Bardolino Superiore DOCG (up to 30%). | Recioto della Valpolicella DOCG. | Valpolicella DOC (up to 30%). | Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso DOC (formerly Valpolicella Ripasso DOC).
See Ian D’Agata, Native Wine Grapes of Italy (University of California Press, 2014).
Italian Wine Unplugged (Positive Press, 2017), p.130.