Minor White Grapes


Greco is one of Italy’s world-class grapes. Arriving in Puglia from the bordering Campania, it is luscious-looking variety with light-yellow berries that are slightly spotted as they ripen; the cluster often has a wing so long that it seems like a second cluster. Greco is not to be confused with Greco Bianco, which is a totally different grape, proved by recent studies to be genetically identical with Malvasia di Lipari. Greco is most widespread in the Valle d'Itria and in the Murgia, where it is the standard-bearer grape in the Gravina DOP.


Francavidda is not very widespread, probably as a result of its acute sensitivity to the environment. It is cultivated primarily in the province of Brindisi, where it seems to have originated; its name, in fact, derives in all likelihood from the dialect name for the commune of Francavilla Fontana. It develops a medium-sized cluster, non-winged and fairly compact, while the whitish-green berry is somewhat heavy and with heavy bloom. 


Impigno’s origins are unknown, but it is an ancient grape introduced into the Ostuni area of Martina Franca in the early 20th century by a farmer by the name of Impigno. The cluster is medium-sized, winged or not, and not very compact; the thin-skinned grapes appear an unusual amber-green hue. It exhibits good resistance to freezes, and it can easily be found around Ostuni in the Valle d'Itria, often blended with other white grapes, such as Bianco d'Alessano, Verdeca, and Francavidda.


The aromatic Minutolo has been grown in Puglia since the 13th century. It was long thought to be a sub-variety of Fiano, and this led the Region’s grapegrowers to call it sometimes Fiano Aromatico, other times Fianello, and more recently Fiano Minutolo. Like other native low-producing varieties, Minutolo, with its small, loose cluster, was near to extinction, when in 2000, certain far-sighted producers and oenologists launched a rigorous massal selection programme in the vineyards of the Valle d'Itria, where the variety was, and still is, widespread. In 2001, its identification became clear, the result of scientific studies that demonstrated that the then-named Fiano Minutolo had, in fact, nothing to do with the Fiano grape; rather, it was related to Moscato Bianco and to Moscato di Alessandria. As a consequence of these discoveries, and in order to avoid confusion, it was decided to use the official name Minutolo for this variety. It is increasingly produced as a monovarietal, both as an aromatic dry wine and as a high-quality sparkling wine. Minutolo’s success is indicated by continuous increase in its plantings.


Historical documentation of the origins of Pampanuto is quite scarce in spite of its being a long-cultivated native Puglia grape, particularly in the Castel del Monte area, as indicated by Prof. Giuseppe Frojo’s writings in 1875. Known also as Rizzulo and Pampanuta, it is a vigorous, high-yielding grape, fairly tolerant of adverse climatic conditions and resistant to fungal diseases. The cluster is medium size, conical or pyramidal, and compact, and the berries are yellow-green. Pampanuto is often blended with Bombino Bianco, complementing it with a low acidity but high sugar level. These qualities have always made Pampanuto appreciated, particularly in the past, when wine was considered a source of calories and, in fact, a true food.

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