The white grape comes from Italy, The name most likely derives from the elongated grape form (pigna = pine cones). Synonyms are Grechetto di Todi, Grechetto Gentile, Occhietto, Pallagrello di Caserta, Piedimonte Bianco, Pignoletta Bianca, Pignoletto Bolognese, Pignolino, Pulcinculo, Rébola, Ribolla Riminese, Strozzavolpe and Uve Pignole. It may, despite seemingly suggestive synonyms or morphological Similarities with Graševina varieties ( Riesling ) Grechetto di Orvieto. Pallagrello Bianco (Piedimonte Bianco), pignolo. Pinot Blanc od. Ribolla Gialla be confused.
According to an unverifiable hypothesis Pignoletto is a descendant of Pliny the Elder (23-79) mentioned "Pino Lieto" (merry fir), for which there is no botanical or historical evidence. The very old variety was possibly first mentioned in 1654 as "Uve Pignole". According to DNA analysis the varieties Grechetto di Todi (Umbria) and Rébola or Ribolla Riminese (Emilia-Romagna) are identical. By then as clone the Pignoletto Grechetto di Orvieto (Umbria) is one Parent-offspring relationship, There is also a close genetic relationship with the species Spergola,
The medium to late-ripening, very productive vine produces fine-sour white wines, which are suitable for the production of sparkling wines. It is mainly used in the Emilia-Romagna cultivated in the area around Bologna. There she is in the DOC white wines Colli Bolognesi. Colli Bolognesi Classico Pignoletto (DOCG) Colli di Faenza. Colli di Imola. Colli di Rimini and Reno authorized. In Umbria however, the DOC provisions for Assisi. Colli Martani. Colli Perugini. Colli del Trasimeno. Lago di Corbara and Todi just under the name Grechetto mentioned. It is not clear if this is Grechetto di Orvieto or Grechetto di Todi (Pignoletto). The total area of Italian crops in 2010 was 1,707 hectares with a decreasing trend (ten years earlier it was 6,009 hectares). But Grechetto di Orvieto stocks could have been there as well.
Source: Wine Grapes / J. Robinson, J. Harding, J. Vouillamoz / Penguin Books Ltd. 2012
Pictures: Ursula Bruehl, Doris Schneider, Julius Kühn Institute (JKI)