By Paul Caputo

Ciliegiolo is one of Italy’s oldest grape varieties. It is widely considered to be a parent of Sangiovese, although multiple studies indicate that the relationship could indeed be the other way around. For now however we acknowledge that there are some genetic similarities and make do with a degree of ambiguity.

In recent history, Ciliegiolo has been treated as a blending grape, favoured for its tendency to give cherry like colour and aromas to the wine. The last decade or so has seen renewed interest in what the variety might be capable when given special attention in the vineyard and vinified with a monovarietal wine in sight.

One of the main characters behind the grape’s recent revival is Leonardo Bussoletti. He’s been working with the University of Milan since 2009 and the collaboration has subsequently revealed up to thirty different clones of Ciliegiolo.