Schiava Grossa is a black grape known as Trollinger in Germany and Vernatsch in north-eastern Italy.
Schiava Grossa is often given the southern, sunny slopes, as it needs a lot of sun, as well as a long ripening period. It is otherwise considered a fairly easy variety to grow.
It is a grape that produces fairly light red wines – some so light that they can be thought to be rosé – with flowery flavours together with strawberries. Don’t be surprised if you also find perfume and more artificial aromas as well, for example bubble-gum.
In Germany, Schiava Grossa is often blended with the variety Blaufränkish. Look for wines from the area of Stuttgart and the Neckar Valley.
It is permitted in seven DOC’s in northern Italy. In six of those – Alto Adige DOC, Caldraro DOC, Casteller DOC, Colli di Bolzano DOC, Meranese di Collina DOC, and Sorni DOC it is required to have between 70 to 95% of Schiava Grossa. In the more general Valdadgie DOC only 20% is required.
A dish of charcuterie, followed by a
polenta will be wonderful with an Italian Schiava Grossa. The wine is
best served at 12-14°C/54-57°F.
Where is it grown?
In its heartland Germany, Schiava Grossa remains more or less at the same acreage in 2010. With it 2.431 ha/6,007 ac, it is the tenth most planted variety in the country. The vast majority of the planted area is found in the southern region Würtemberg.
In Italy however, the decrease between 2000 and 2010 has been fifty-four percent, and it is now the one-hundred and seventh most planted grape in Italy. It covers 580 ha/1,433 ac. Most of this you find in the north-eastern Bolzano-Bosen area, situated in the Alto Adige region.
It is quite certain that Schiava Grossa has originated from somewhere in the very central area of Europe. Possible countries are Austria, northern Italy, and southern Germany. Today it is recognised as being of German origin. We should however remember that north-eastern Italy was part of the Austrian-Hungarian empire for a long period of time. Since Tirol is one of the places where the variety has had a long-time presence, this could be an indication of north-eastern Italy as its place of origin.
The large number of synonyms, e.g. more than one-hundred and fifty, verifies that it is indeed an old variety.