A blog devoted to exploring wines made from unusual grape varieties and/or grown in unfamiliar regions all over the world. All wines are purchased by me from shops in the Boston metro area or directly from wineries that I have visited. If a reviewed bottle is a free sample, that fact is acknowledged prior to the bottle's review. I do not receive any compensation from any of the wineries, wine shops or companies that I mention on the blog.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Incrocio Bruni 54 - Marche, Italy

Today I'm going to do something I don't typically do.  I usually try to make sure that for any grape that I write about, I either try a wine that is at least 50% from that grape (though 75% is even better), or I move the post to Weird Blend Wednesday and write about wines made from several different unusual grapes, none of which make up majority of a given bottling.  I really try not to write about grapes that make up a minority portion of a bottling, and I have been mostly successful in avoiding that, but today I'm going to make an exception.  The only wine I could find that contained today's grape, Incrocio Bruni 54, only had about 25% of it in the blend, while the other 75% was made from Pecorino.  I certainly could have included this wine in my post on the Pecorino grape, but chances are pretty good that I won't be coming across any wines with a higher percentage of Incrocio Bruni 54 any time soon (though there is at least one producer who makes a varietal wine from it).  As of the 2004 Italian agricultural census, there were only 13 hectares (about 32 acres) of Incrocio Bruni 54 under vine in Italy, which essentially means there are only 13 hectares being grown in the world.  It is cultivated basically only in the Marche and is allowed in the DOC wines of Colli Maceratesi, but can make up no more than 30% of the blend there.

Incrocio is an Italian word that means "crossing," and there are a handful of Incrocio grapes that are planted to varying degrees in Italy.  These are grapes that were created either by private Italian breeders or by people working at various research institutes throughout Italy.  The most common and perhaps best known is Incrocio Manzone, also known as Manzone Bianco, which I'll be writing about in a separate post very soon.  Pretty much all of the Incrocio grapes follow the same naming convention: they all usually start with Incrocio (though occasionally this word is dropped) and then the word after Incrocio is usually the name of the breeder who created the grape, who in this case was Bruno Bruni, and the number refers to the specific selection of grape.  Sometimes these grapes are given "regular" names, but most of them seem to be stuck with these cumbersome long-form names.  Bruni created hundreds of crossings in his lifetime, but like most grape breeders, only a handful of them proved to have much value as wine grape cultivars.  The VIVC database has a fairly extensive listing of grapes created by Bruni, but it seems as though only number 54 has had any kind of staying power (though many of his creations are table grapes, so they may be more widely grown and known, but I'm not even sure how to check something like that).

Bruni was working in the early part of the 20th Century in the Marche region of Italy and many of his crossings were created between 1930 and 1950.  There either isn't any biographical information on the man online, or I'm just unable to find it underneath all of the results for an Italian sculptor also named Bruno Bruni.  In any case, our man Bruni published a paper (titled "Nuove varieta' di uve da vino 'Incrocio Bruni 54'") announcing his new grape in 1964.  The given parentage was Sauvignon Blanc x Verdicchio, and virtually every resource currently in print lists gives this as the accepted pedigree for the grape.  In a massive study done in 2010 (citation 1), though, the grape's parentage was revealed to be Aleatico x Lacrima.  I haven't been able to find this result corroborated in any other studies (which isn't surprising given the grape's limited plantings and importance), but the VIVC database is sufficiently convinced to list this as the grape's official parentage.

The wine that I was able to try with Incrocio Bruni 54 in it was the 2010 Fontezoppa Marche Bianco which, as mentioned above, is about 25% Incrocio Bruni 54 and 75% Pecorino.  I picked this bottle up locally for around $12.  In the glass the wine was a pale silvery lemon color with greenish tints.  The nose was fairly intense with white pear, lemon, lime, green apple and pineapple aromas.  On the palate the wine was medium bodied with medium acidity.  There were flavors of white pear, ripe red apples, lemony citrus, orange pith and green melon along with a kind of chalky minerality on the back end.  It was similar in style and in flavor to the Colle Vecchio Pecorino I wrote about in my post on that grape, but this wine was a little broader, fatter and blander than that one.  This wine is certainly not a fair representation of what Incrocio Bruni 54 might taste like, but it does give a sense of how the grape is used when it is used at all.  If I ever run across one of those rare varietal bottlings of this grape, I'll be certain to try it and post about it here, but until then, this is probably the best I can do.


Cipriani, G, et al (seriously, there are 14 authors on this paper).  2010.  The SSR-based molecular profile of 1005 grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) accessions uncovers new synonymy and parentages, and reveals a large admixture amongst varieties of different geographic origin.  Theoretical and Applied Genetics.  121, pp. 1569-1585.


WineKnurd said...

Any idea what this grape generally adds to a blend- acid, minerality, perfume, structure, color, etc. Italian grapes like Canaiolo are used almost exclusively as a blending grape and I am thinking that the Bruni 54 most likely falls into this category as well.

Fringe Wine said...

I don't know that it contributes much beyond volume. It's a high yielding vine and I think it is planted and used more because of this than for any intetesting viticultural characteristics it may possess. It apparently does have some value aromatically, but I think if it really had some interesting or useful quality, we'd see more of it than a mere 13 ha.