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The Ciliegiolo Grape


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About Ciliegiolo

(Synonyms: Albana Nera, Brunellone, Canaiolo Romano, Ciliegino, Ciliegiolo di Spagna, Mazzèse, Riminese, Nero, Sangiovese Polveroso)

Background

Map showing the Tuscany and Umbria regions of Italy

Ciliegiolo is a red-wine grape originating in Italy (occasional suggestions of an ultimate Spanish origin seem erroneous, based on DNA analyses). Nowadays it is grown mainly in the provinces of Tuscany and Umbria, though Sicily also has nontrivial plantings. There is a definte relation between Ciliegiolo and Sangiovese, but which is an offspring of the other is not yet settled.

(The pronunciation is, roughly, cheeli-oh-JOL-oh; you can hear it at this page of Forvo.)

The single word most often heard in connection with Ciliegiolo is "cherry", as to look, smell, and taste (and even grape size and shape); indeed, the Italian word for cherry is ciliegio, whence the wine’s name. It can be (and is) vinified is quite a range of styles, from light and easy to big and complex. Because it is a somewhat low-acid wine (and low-alcohol as well), it does not need or want much in the way of bottle aging; but, even though drinkable young, it has strength of character and real interest. The type is also sometimes made as a rosé, and is said to present very well.

Opinion seems to be that the best modern Ciliegiolo comes from the Maremma region of Tuscany, and those are the wines worth looking for.

Factoid: the dispute over whether Sangiovese is parent or offspring remains rather hot; the Fringe Wine blog has a good summary.

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Some Descriptions of Ciliegiolo Wines

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Some Ciliegiolos to Try

(About this list.)

For monovarietal Ciliegiolos, the choices (in the U.S.) are few. Here are all we could find with even moderate retail distribution.


Leonardo Bussoletti “Narni Brecciaro” Ciliegiolo
(Don’t confuse this with their “Ramici” Ciliegiolo.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Tenuta Santa Lucia Ciliegiolo
(Don’t confuse this with their “La Tesa” Ciliegiolo' this is their basic bottling.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Marco Salustri “L’Ideale” Ciliegiolo

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks

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For a Splurge

The Ciliegiolo wines available are so few that there really isn’t anything sufficiently better as to justify a “splurge” price.

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This page was last modified on Monday, 23 March 2020, at 3:52 pm Pacific Time.