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The Greco Grape


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About Greco

(Synonyms: Asprinio, Greco del Vesuvio, Greco delle Torre, Greco di Napoli, Greco di Tufo, Grieco di Castelvenere)

Background

Map showing the Campania region of Italy

“Greco” is another one of those grape designations that actually covers a whole set of grapes, some related, many not (as is the case with the Refoschi, the Malvasias, the Muscats, and some others). The Greco set includes Greco, Greco Bianco, Greco Giallo, Greco Moro, Greco Nero (a red-wine grape), Greco Bianco del Pollino, Greco Bianco di Cirò, Greco Bianco di Donnici, Greco Bianco di Lamezia Terme, Greco Bianco di Rogliano, Grecomusc’, Greco Nero di Scilla, and probably some others—you can see why we say the situation is a mess.

To try to keep things simple, what we do with grape sets like “Greco” is deal only with the particular grapes that make wines of at least reasonable quality and that you are likely to be able to readily find available. In this case, that reduces to Greco (the grape actually named just “Greco”) and “Greco Bianco”. (Just to add to the amusement value, Greco Bianco seems to actually be, despite the name, a variety of Malvasia.)

The outstanding Greco-based wine is “Greco di Tufo“ (which, despite much confusion, is only the name of the wine, and not that of any grape); Greco di Tufo is made from Greco grapes grown in the Campania-region appellation of Tufo, whose name derives from its soil, which is believed, probably correctly, to much influence the wines made there.

(We will not deal here with Greco Bianco, though it is a good grape, for several reasons. First, it is mostly used to make sweet dessert wines. Second, there are seemingly countless grapes locally called “Greco Bianco” but which are really something else. Third, production is relatively small. So from here on, we discuss only the one grape properly, and simply, called “Greco”. We also ignore the unusual red grapes called Greco-Something.)

Greco is a white-wine grape presumably (but not certainly, despite the name) originating in Greece, but now of Italian growth. The grape may well be of ancient heritage, having possibly come into Italy over two and a half millennia ago, if it is the same wine described (and praised) by eminent writers from the classical age of Rome; indeed, it may have been a component of the famed Falernian wines of that era.

Greco wines are typically relatively deep in color for whites, and have a profound nose (Jancis Robinson has likened it, in a vague way, to Viognier). The taste, however, is not usually fruit-forward; what fruit there is will be stone fruit, notably peach, though some find pomes instead (apples, pears). There is also usually some citrus-y quality, and most especially substantial minerality. Greco usually has medium to high acidity, making it tart and crisp. Better Greco wines can bottle-age to advantage, and acquire herbal overtones as they do, though there is always a risk of eventual over-oxidation and ruination of the wine.

Greco is one of a trio of white wines that distinguish the Campania region: Greco, Fiano, and Falanghina. As a rough rule of thumb, a vintner who is good at any of those will be good at all of them, and a few notable houses tend to dominate regional production.

Factoid: the tag “Greco”, casually applied to many different (and mostly minor) grape types throughout Italy, derives not so much from their probable origin as from their usual use to make sweet wines—sweet wines being generally thought of then as “Greek” in style, and then being immensely popular.

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Some Descriptions of Greco Wines

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Some Grecos to Try

(About this list.)

Mastroberardino “Nova Serra” Greco di Tufo
(They bottle several Greco wines: be sure you’re looking at their “Nova Serra”.)

• 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



Terredora di Paolo “Loggia della Serra” Greco di Tufo

• 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



Feudi di San Gregorio Greco di Tufo
(This is their basic, not their “Cutizzi” nor their “Studi Arielle” Greco bottlings.)

• 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



Donnachiara Greco di Tufo
(This is their basic Greco, not their “Ostinato” nor their “Aletheia” bottlings.)

• 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



Villa Matilde Greco di Tufo
(This is their basic, not their “Masseria Pioppeto” 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

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For a Splurge

Our nomination is the Benito Ferrara “Vigna Cicogna” Greco. Note that they bottle several Greco wines: this is their “Vigna Cicogna” bottling, not their “Terra d’Uva” nor their “Due Chicchi” nor their basic di Tufo bottling.

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

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This page was last modified on Thursday, 23 January 2020, at 12:54 pm Pacific Time.