Albarossa is a red variety created by Professor Giovanni Dalmasso (1886 - 1976)
in Conegliano, Veneto in 1938.
Here he met and worked with Professor Manzoni, famous for the eponymous crossings he created between diverse grape varieties.
Professor Dalmasso used the same technique with Piedmontese grapes (and more) and obtained several hybrids that he named with abstruse codes.
In 1939 he was awarded the chair of viticulture at Torino and brought his creations with him.
In 1961, Professor Paglietta, a school friend of Italo’s, began his university career as volunteer assistant to the Chair of Tree Cultivation. Here he met Professor Dalmasso, who was retired but still active, and began to work with him.
In 1977, Professor Eynard, Chair of Viticulture at the University of Turin identified 12 of these crosses and registered them in the national catalogue of grape varieties. However, because they were not registered in the provincial lists of recommended or authorised varieties, cultivation of them was not permitted. They did require names however, and this task was entrusted to Professor Paglietta, who in the meantime had replaced Professor Dalmasso.
As recounted by Roberto, names were chosen to honour the women of the Dalmasso family–his mother, daughters and granddaughter. The name of the Ligurian village, Bussana, where Professor Dalmasso spent his summers gave its name to the Bussanello variety..
And lastly, the cross until then referred to as XV/31, became Albarossa.
“With this name”, Roberto recalled, ”I wanted to honour the city of Alba, where I went to secondary school and where a prestigious oenology school is located, at which school Professor Dalmasso gained his qualification in oenology”.
It was not until the 1990’s that Franco Mannini (CNR) and others re-examined these crosses, planting new vineyards in various winegrowing areas of Piedmont, the largest of which was the Tenuta Cannona at Carpeneto (AL).
After in-depth agronomic and oenological studies carried out in the 1990’s, only three of the original 12 were considered to be of interest. These were thus registered in the authorised lists in Piedmont: he red varieties, Albarossa and Cornarea and the white Bussanello.
Of these, Albarossa is the only variety to have continued success today.
In 2003, it was still thought that Albarossa was a descendant of Nebbiolo, and for this reason, Italo was chosen by his friend Mr Paglietta to plant part of the new vineyard with this variety.
In the meantime, with the help of DNA analysis it was discovered that of the two antecedents indicated by Professor Dalmasso, only Barbera could be confirmed and Nebbiolo was excluded. Following the initial confusion, DNA analysis revealed that the second parent of Albarossa was a French variety called Chatus, also cultivated in Piedmont close to the Alps.
In Piedmont, this variety is also called Dronero Nebbiolo (Dronero is a small village close to Cuneo) thus explaining Professor Dalmasso's error, or at least the error of whoever collected pollen for the assay.
None of this changed anything for us; we had arrived at the first vinification and were very happy with the magnificent wine that resulted.
Italo decided to dedicate the back of the label to the Faculty of Agriculture of Turin and to the researchers who had assisted him from the time of the clonal selection of Arneis.
At last in 2010, after several years of the Langa DOC appellation, Piedmont Albarossa–the designation we still use today–was added to the Piedmont register.
The history of the Albarossa variety from 1938 until today