They love this wine in the USA but you’ll never find it on a wine list in Ireland!
Raboso is without a doubt the signature red wine of the Veneto region of Italy, mostly grown in the low lying coastal region around the Piave river which flows through the Veneto’s eastern Treviso Province. This is a full bodied red deep in colour with plenty of tannins, but it is more often than not made to be slightly ‘frizzante’ (fizzy). This is why it drinks really easily even when served slightly chilled, which it is in the heat of the summer in Italy and it is served in a carafe in most Italian restaurants as ‘sfuso’ or loose wine. More often if you order a carafe of loose wine in the area, this is what you will be drinking and it’s really really good!
So what do the Americans know that we don’t?
Raboso Piave is a rustic vine variety, which ripens late, and is excellent for producing wines for ageing.
The traditional production zone spans across Treviso, from Conegliano to San Donà di Piave. The wine has quite strong tannins and acidity when young. But like many rustic Italian red grapes, these aspects mellow out with age and reward the patient drinker with rounded flavours. Long, slow maceration followed by 36 months ageing in a mix of Chestnut and Allier Oak barrels. During harvest, some bunches are left on the vines to partially wither and concentrate their flavours, these are then skilfully added to the blend to reinforce the depth and character of this classic wine.
Passito (sweet) versions of Raboso are also produced, often blended with a small percentage of other local grapes.
Raboso is also the main ingredient in Piave Malanotte DOCG. This is comprised of at least 95% of the varietal (a minimum 70% Raboso del Piave and up to 30% its offshoot Raboso Veronese) with the remaining 5% other reds grown within the Piave zone, usually ‘Carmenère’.
Under very strict regulations, the wine must consist of 15-30% dried Raboso grapes, creating a wine that is similar in flavour and structure to Amarone tasting of spicy cherries. It is aged at least three years before release, with at least twelve months of it in the barrel. These requirements are of course very costly to wine-makers, making this one of the most expensive wines to produce.
Raboso is extremely drinkable without food, but is recommended as a perfect partner to beef or any red meat dish.
We are very fortunate that at our Villa in the Veneto, our wonderful neighbours produce a fabulous Raboso wine, which to the horror of most red wine drinkers we do keep in the fridge in summer. We have had any American guests staying at the villa, who have fallen so in love with the Raboso wine next door that they are still emailing us begging for us to arrange a shipment to California or Colorado.
If restaurant owners in Ireland want to know what they’re missing, we have some stunning samples to let you taste. Just get in touch and we’ll be happy to arrange a tasting.