Grechetto is an Italian wine grape of Greek origins. The grape is planted throughout central Italy, particularly in the Umbria region where it is used in the Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC). It is primarily a blending grape, though some varietal wine is also produced. Grechetto is commonly blended with Chardonnay, Malvasia, Trebbiano and Verdello. The grape's thick skin provides good resistance to downy mildew which can attack the grape late in the harvest season.
In the ampelographic heritage of Umbria, an absolute relevant place is occupied by Grechetto, the most important white berried grape of the green heart of Italy. Found in almost all production disciplinary of Denominazione d'Origine Controllata white wines of Umbria, Grechetto is used either alone or blended to other grapes found in the region, such as Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia Bianca, as well as some international varieties, of which the most frequent one is Chardonnay. The name Grechetto would unequivocally suggest the connection of the origins of this grape to Greece, making it part of the large family of the so called Greek grapes introduced by the Hellenic in past times. Indeed the Grechetto name seems to have its origins during Medieval times, when the wines produced with this grape reminded aromas and flavors of the ones coming from the eastern areas of the Mediterranean. Moreover, the connection with Greek grapes seems to be controverted by some genetic researches done on Grechetto.
In Italy, the Grechetto grape is found in DOCs of the central region-most notably Umbria region.
Viticulture and winemaking
The thick skin of Grechetto grapes allows the grape to be harvested late with high sugar levels. This works well in the production of dessert wines. There are at least two sub-varieties of Grechetto-Grechetto di Todi and Grechetto Spoletino with the former being more widely planted in the area. The Grechetto vine is low yielding and able to produce concentrated flavors. The grape is primarily used as a blending grape where it adds richness and structure to the wines. It is most often blended with Chardonnay, Trebbiano, Malvasia and Verdello. In Umbria, Grechetto can add herbal and nutty flavors to the wine.
Environmental and cultural characteristics
The leaves are medium sized, oblong with five lobes; the bunch is medium-small, cylindrical or conical, tight, sometimes with wings, the berry is medium sized, oval, with thin but firm yellowish skin. It adapts well to soils of central Italy, has abundant production and requires medium-long pruning and forms of training with medium expansion.
Diseases and adversity
Tolerates cold winters and spring frosts (common feature in many areas of Umbria and Tuscany in part). Good resistance to downy mildew and has a sensitivity 's average powdery mildew.