this one about the Bonarda grape from Argentina. I remember being fascinated by the confusion surrounding the grape and having a blast trying to sort through and write about it. This was before I had discovered the wealth of literature about DNA analysis and grape varieties, but the roots of that interest and a lot of the subsequent research I've done for the posts on this blog can be traced back to that piece.
I bring that post up because today's grape, Croatina, is also known as Bonarda in some regions of Italy. We've taken a look at Croatina before here on this site, as it is an important component of a wine called Sangue di Giuda from Lombardia, Italy. It is found primarily in northwestern Italy, in Piemonte and Lombardia, and is one of three different grapes in Italy that goes by the name of Bonarda. In Piemonte, what is called Bonarda is typically either Uva Rara or Bonarda Piemontese. When you're in the Oltrepò Pavese region of Lombardia in Italy, Bonarda refers to Croatina. Today's wine is actually from Piemonte, and so the wine is labeled as Croatina rather than Bonarda, since Bonarda refers either to Uva Rara or Bonarda Piemontese here. Argentine Bonarda is, of course, none other than the Charbono of California, which is known as Corbeau in France (see citation 1 below for further reading). Interestingly enough, none of the grapes that are known as Bonarda are related to one another.
The name of the grape might make you think that it has something to do with the nation of Croatia, and you might be right, though just what that link might be is unclear. Some believe that the grape came into Italy via Croatia and picked up its name in the same way that Greco or Grechetto picked up their names from Greece. For awhile, Croatina was thought to be the same grape as Croatia's Hrvatica, since Hrvatica means "Croatian girl" in the Croatian language while Croatina means something like "Croatian girl" in Italian, but DNA studies have shown that these two grapes are not related to one another. As far as I know, Croatina has not been shown to be identical to any grape currently grown in Croatia and I haven't found any studies that link its pedigree to any grape in Croatia either.
1) Martinez, L., Cavagnara, P., Boursiquot, J.M., Aguero, C. (2008) Molecular characterization of Bonarda-type grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) cultivars from Argentina, Italy and France. American Journal of Enology and Viticulture. 59(3). 287-291