The Brachetto grape (pronounced: Bra-KET-oh) is grown almost exclusively in the Piedmonte region of northwest Italy, which is nestled within the foothills of the Alps and bordered by France and Switzerland (Turin/Torino, home of the 2006 Winter Olympics, is the capital of the region). Despite the abundance of Brachetto grown there, though, Piedmonte is better known for other wines produced in the region, namely the Barolo and Barbaresco reds made from the Nebbiolo grape (both of which are widely considered to be among the finest wines Italy produces), Barbera grape used for Barbera D'Asti and the Asti-Spumante sparkling wines made from the Moscato grape.
Might originate from the hills of Asti and Monferrato.
For a very long time, the Brachetto grapes was thought to be related to the French Braquet grape, grown almost exclusively near the Italian border in the hills above the town of Nice. Braquet is one of the primary grapes used in the the wines of the relatively unknown French AOC of Bellet (unknown to many because almost all Bellet wines are sold and drunk in and around the Nice/Cannes section of the French Riviera). However, recent analyses of both the Brachetto and Braquet grapes have determined that they are not related and are indeed entirely separate grapes.
In Italy’s region of Piedmont the grape is somewhat more widespread: production mostly falling within an area of the provinces of Asti and Alessandria between the rivers Bormida and Belbo plus various parts of the province of Cuneo. At Canelli, on the border between the hills of Asti and the Langhe, the grape is also called Borgogna. The most notable wine here is the red Brachetto d'Acqui Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) which is made in both still and spumante (fully sparkling) versions. The Piemonte Brachetto Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC), also a red wine, is made with a minimum of 85% Brachetto; it is usually still, but may be frizzante (lightly sparkling). The grape is also used for up to 10% of the blend for the Ruché-based Ruché di Castagnole Monferrato DOC.
Viticulture and winemaking
Brachetto tend to produce light bodied, highly aromatic wines with distinctive notes of strawberries. In the DOCG region of Brachetto d'Acqui, the grape is used to produce a slightly sweet sparkling wine that is similar to Lambrusco and is sometimes called the a light red equivalent of Moscato d'Asti.
Environmental and agricultural characteristics and needs: It has medium leaf, orbicular lobed; medium sized cluster, elongated, cylindrical or pyramidal shaped, winged and compact; medium sized berry, ellipsoidal, the skin is black/dark purple, medium waxy, aromatic in flavour. The separation between the berry and pedicel is difficult. It has regular but limited production, highly variable because of its sensitivity to viruses. It is generally grown using Guyot training system.
Diseases and adversity: it has a limited development of buds in spring, accompanied by deficiency symptoms. It's sensitive to viral infections and tolerant enough to rot thanks to the early ripening grape.
Follows, by region, a list of all DOC and DOCG is allowed where the use of this vine:
- Brachetto d'Acqui: 100%
- Ruché Castagnole Monferrato: 0 to 10%
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