NERO DI TROIA
Nero di Troia is a red berried vine variety widespread in the Apulia region. Together with Primitivo and Negramaro it is one of the biggest indigenous vines of this region. It takes its name both from its polyphenolic properties, which gives it a deep ruby red color that sometimes may seem “black”, and from its historical origins. According to the legend, in fact, the Greek hero Diomede, once the Troia War ended, sailed to the Adriatic Sea until he reached the Ofanto river and there, after he found the perfect place, he anchored his boat.
Diomede brought with him some grapevines that, upon the banks of the Ofanto river, gave birth to the Nero di Troia grape. This legend is also present in some ampelographic works (i.e. S. Del Gaudio e L. Ciasca, “Principali vitigni da vino coltivati in Italia”, 1960), that talk about the Nero di Troia grape as “a plant native to plant, imported into the Apulia region by the ancient Greeks”).
Other hypothesis derive the name of Nero di Troia from the small city of Troia in the Apulia region, in the province of Foggia or, even, from the Albanian town of Kruja or Cruja or, finally, from Rioja, the Spanish regions of Galicia and Cataluña. This last hypothesis refers to the years of Spanish domination in Apulia and, in particular, to the time of Don Alfonso d’Avalos’s jurisdiction (1745).
Noting that his landholdings had the perfect conditions for vine cultivation, Don Alfonso decided to plant vineyards and, in particular, a vine variety which came from from his home-country. In a short time, he got a very appreciated wine, that gained in reputation and fame under the name of Nero di Troia.
For a long time, Nero di Troia has been a grape bound to reinforce weaker body and color wines. Only recently it started getting the right appreciation, since it has been proved that by vinifying it as a single grape wine you can get wines of outstanding value. The wine obtained at the end of the aging, in fact, has a high density of color, a deep ruby red, with elegant tannins, austere character, a spicy taste (even without passing in barrique), with blackberry and licorice hints, balsamic and, sometimes, herbal notes. It gives excellent results vinified in rosé style as well, by getting elegant and fine wines, with great olfactory sensations of fruit and spices.
Areas of Cultivation
Nowadays Nero di Troia is cultivated all over the northern part of the Apulia region, from the province of Foggia to the province of Bari.
At least two different grape biotypes exist: one with larger bunches and berries, the other smaller.
Nero di Troia is ripe at the beginning of October and has pyramid-shaped bunches, simple or winged, of great dimension and medium compact. The skin is very pruinose and thick, of black-violet color, with fleshy and sweet pulp. It has a medium-low yield, but it has a good adaptability to all types of lands and forms of training. It tolerates powdery mildew but it has some trouble with downy mildew.
We can find the Nero di Troia grape in the following appellations: Castel del Monte Nero di Troia reserve DOCG, Cacc’e Mmitte di Lucera DOC, Canosa Rosso DOC, Cerignola DOC, IGT Puglia, IGT Daunia.