It was once one of Italy’s most popular grapes, but after the American phylloxera devastation, the vineyards didn’t take kindly to grafting which greatly affected the diffusion of this robust grape. Nevertheless, this grape persisted and its qualities are revered among winemakers, so much so that it must, by law be a component of Chianti wine.
The grape made its way onto the Chianti scene back in the day before the temperatures of fermentation were controlled with machinery. The grape was able to go through fermentation process without risk of “going bad” which means it was a reliable grape. Its legend lives on and is now part of Italy’s every day wines. It can also used to make Vino Nobile di Montepulciano…
Now are you getting an idea of how important this grape is? The Canaiolo grape is known for its ability to thrive during prolonged fermentation which makes it perfect for wines with a long shelf life. Characteristics of Canaiolo Grape This Italian grape offers wines soft notes with light fruit flavors and some hints of floral. It is medium-bodied and can be quite tannic, though nowhere near determinedly tannic. These are perfect characteristics fit for a Chianti.
There is also a Canaiolo Bianco grape which has nothing to do with red wine but is the white wine counterpart. This light-skinned sub-variety is also grown in Tuscany, and Lazio as well and is used in popular Italian wines such as Grechetto and Malvasia Bianca.