Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The potential of the foglia tonda grape

Giovanni Sordi, part of the League of Chianti and also winemaker at Fattoria Le Bocce, has been sharing with me information on some of the lesser known grapes of Tuscany so that I may share it with you all. If you haven't heard of the grape, foglia tonda, it is being reintroduced into the world of grapes in Italy, specifically Tuscany. This grape fell into oblivion for almost a century. The true origins of foglia tonda were lost. The Rovasenda (1877) mentions it as being present in the historic Brolio vineyards of Baron Bettino Ricasoli, whom I discussed in an earlier article. It was rediscovered at the University of Florence a few years ago and has characteristics rather surprising.
Tuscany landscapes and vineyards
In the conference, “Chianti Classico: History, Wines and Unique Grapes”, held by the League of Chianti, League of Chianti, in Greve in Chianti, Doctor Storchi spoke much about the grape and illustrated the peculiar characteristics that enologically are very interesting.

The wine has an important color due to the phenolic composition of the skins that are characterized from the presence of many anthocyanins, pigments found in the plant. The anthocyanins tie easily with the other phenolic elements that are important to the wine including the tannins that contribute to the phenolic structure and durability of the wine. The aromatics have many similiarities with the sangiovese grape. Doctor Storchi specified the direct relationship of these varieties therefore proclaiming that foglia tonda is “the cousin of sangiovese”. Foglia tonda, meaning round leaf, takes the name from the characteristics of the leaves to which the lobes give a particular roundness to this organ of the plant.

The fact that producers are still not very engaged to produce wines of the foglia tonda vine is very surprising. Giovanni Sordi personally tried some of the foglia tondo vinified as a single vine that had encouraging results. He feels that foglia tonda would be the ideal partner of sangiovese producing a noble and elegant wine with quality. It would complement and provide the best structure as a blend without modifying some of the aromatic aspects.