One of the joys of visiting a region is learning about the local grape varieties, in this case, the rare variety Uvalino. Yes, everyone in Monferrato grows Barbera and Moscato but Uvalino is basically grown mainly by Cascina Castlet in Costiglione d’Asti. It has been treasured by Maria Borio who has grown and studied it for decades.
In the early autumn, it is a spectacular sight. It has fairly generous bunches of black grapes and radiantly red leaves. It is a tough old thing that can be kept on the vine for weeks and then dried indoors for a month or more according to the vintage. It produces a flavourful wine, red plum and blackberry, with a ripe palate and really firm tannins that give it a very long life. It is not going to suit everyone’s palate but it was definitely worth preserving. The rare variety Uvalino lives on!