Resurrecting Recantina

Stephen Quinn reports on an autochthonous variety pulled out by Napoleon’s troops, which has refused to retreat.

Vines surround the Abbey of  St. Eustace Villarrica
Vines surround the Abbey of St. Eustace Villarrica

Wars have had a profound impact on the Asolo wine region north-west of Venice. Between 1792 and 1802 Napoleon’s French revolutionary army fought a coalition of Austrian, Russian and Italian troops in northern Italy. Late in the campaign, in 1801, Napoleon ordered his troops to replace local grapes with French vines such as Cabernet Sauvignon. The only autochthonous variety in the region, the Recantina grape, was torn out and all but forgotten for 200 years until a handful of winemakers in Asolo began resurrecting it.

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