Known as a blending grape playing second fiddle to Negroamaro and Primitivo, only recently has Susumaniello been a variety to be reckoned with on its own. It is traced back to a cross between Garganega, considered one of Italy’s oldest cultivars, and an unknown varietal.
As with many Italian grapes that have been lost to obscurity, over the past couple decades there’s been a rejuvenated interest in bringing back this forgotten beauty. In the first (roughly) decade in its life, the vines produce an excess amount of fruit, bearing quite the load – a reason for the name derived from “somarello” – meaning donkey. But with some patience and time, things start to get interesting. Where it slows down in yield, it gains in concentrated flavor with age.