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Refosco dal Penducolo Rosso is probably Friuli Venezia Giulia’s best-known red grape variety and is also grown in the Veneto.

It was differentiated from a myriad of Refoscos because it ripens one to two weeks earlier and because of its stalk, which reddens once the grapes are fully ripe.

Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso are wines of great complexity, hinting at dried cherries, fresh herbs, almonds, and flowers such as lavender, geranium and violet. Aromas and flavors, though intense have a short finish. Tannins can be much more aggressive and astringent than those of wines made with other Refoscos. When grapes fail to reach optimal maturity, the wines display varying degrees of greenness and vegetal aromas and flavors, and this is true of all Refosco varieties. The best wines to try are those of the DOC Colli Orientali del Friuli of Friuli Venezia Giulia; Friuli Grave, Friuli Annia, and Friuli Latisana.

Recent research has shed light on the Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso family tree. Apparently Teroldego (native to Trentino) spontaneously crossed at least twice with the same unknown variety to give birth to Lagrein in Trentino and Alto Adige and to Marzemino in Trentino and Lombardy. Then Marzemino with another unknown other parent gave birth to Refosco dal Pedunculo Rosso, most likely in Friuli. Therefore, Teroldego is a grandfather and Lagrein either an uncle or an aunt of Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso. Furthermore, Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso is a parent of Corvina and a grandparent of Rondinella, two famous Veneto varieties used to make Valpolicella and Amarone wines, so it turns out that Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso is a pretty noble grape.

Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso adapts well to just about any soil type but does best in nutrient-poor, calcareous-clay soils and hillside locations, and is very vigorous.

Above all, it needs to ripen well in order to avoid green, vegetal aromas and flavors; and as ripeness is everything, nurseries and research personnel have strived to develop better clones.

Outside Italy, besides very rare exapmles from Greece and Croatia, Refosco dal Penducolo Rosso is grown in Mendoza, Argentina as well as Colchagua in Chile. It has also sparked interest in New Mexico and California. Although a great deal of so-called Refosco in California is actually Mondeuse Noire and has always sparked controversy.

The Refosco-Mondeuse Noire fiasco of the last half of the twentieth century shows why ampelogical identification is rife with traps. Simply put, a so-called Refosco accession sampled by the University of California Berkeley, from Jackson Vineyard in Amador County, was later identified via genetic testing as Mondeuse Noire. No Refosco variety growing in Italy matched the American “Refosco-Mondeuse Noire” in DNA profile, and so it was clear to all that the original U.S. grapevine sample had been misidentified ampelographically from the beginning, sparing wine lovers and producers alike any further worry that Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso and Mondeuse Noire were one and the same. But in the past twenty years there have been many new plantings of Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso and many very good wines made from it.

"Native Wine Grapes of Italy" Ian D'Agata