Nosiola, the Wine Grape You Didn’t Know Existed, But You’ll Be Glad You Do Now.

There are thousands of different grape varieties in the world; Italy has at least two thousands of them, and each has a well-defined personality, no grape tastes the same.

Getting to know different grapes is part of the fun in enjoying wine; you never know what to expect from what’s coming out of the bottle.

Some grapes have earned international acclaim, we all know Cabernet and Chardonnay, and we’re very familiar with Pinot Grigio and Malbec. Still, the best wines out there come from lesser-known grape varieties; amongst them, there’s Nosiola.

Understand the Terroir, and You’ll Figure Out the Grape.

Wine grapes are specialists in expressing through wine the sense of place; they show you with flavors and aromas where they were grown: that’s terroir (terr-wah). And it’s a big deal, tasting the terroir in wine is like traveling without leaving your home — it’s that special.

The Nosiola grape takes its name from nocciola, which means hazelnut in Italian. Experts say the relation comes from the lovely nutty aromas characteristic of wines made with the white grape, and we agree.

Close your eyes. You’re flying through the narrow valleys that find their way through the northern Italian Alps. The high, snowy peaks protect the valleys from rain, but that’s OK, all the water grape growers need come from the crystal clear rivers that flow down the Alps to feed the Italian Lakes. This is the Trentino region in Italy, one of the finest sources for high-quality white wines in Europe.

Close up to the Valle dei Laghi, the valley of the lakes a few kilometers west of Trento, this is the one and only place suitable for growing the indigenous Nosiola grape. Still, it’s not as easy as it sounds, passionate grape growers had to plant the vines in steep terraces called “frate,” overlooking the lakes of Toblino and Cavedine.

Producers are proud of this labor-intensive tradition. Pravis, a respected producer in the region, named its Nosiola-based Vigneti delle Dolomiti wine “Le Frate,” a beautiful wine, by the way.

How do Nosiola Wines Taste Like?

Nosiola is quite versatile and delivers wines of extraordinary quality, especially in the hands of the talented producers in the area like Pravis, Francesco Poli and Bolognani, to mention a few. The grapes can be vinified to dryness for the freshest of Alpine wines, or they can be left to dry to create lusciously sweet Vin Santo.

When dry, Nosiola wines have a generous nose of yellow apples, white peaches, fresh wildflowers and a hint of hazelnut. On the palate, they have a lifting acidity and a lovely persistent aftertaste. Ideal for freshwater whitefish, crudités, fresh cheese or international specialties like sushi and Chinese-style stir-fries.

When sweet, Vin Santo made with Nosiola has the most opulent bouquet of honeyed peaches, saffron, white raisins, and accentuated nutty aromas. This type of wine can be enjoyed on its own but can complement a cheese platter with figs and dried fruit, slightly sweet custard desserts, or biscotti.

Either way, Nosiola is more than good wine, it’s a new experience and an adventure to unexplored wines and undiscovered grapes. It’s the taste of the land and spirited work of generations of winemaking families deep inside the mysterious valleys of Trentino.

Don’t Wait, Nosiola Wines Await.

Although lesser-known, there’s a great variety of Nosiola-based wines. Specialty distributors like Shelved Wine have been supporting the region for years, showcasing its wines made from autochthonous varieties. Order your first bottle of Nosiola wine, and we bet it won’t be the last.