The appearance of Cortese in the Piedmontese viticultural scenario must have been rather late, considering its earlier quotation dates back to 1614, when its wine is listed in the cellar inventory of the Casale Monferrato castle (Nada Patrone, 1991), along with Grignolino and other wines from unknown grape varieties. Cortese wine must have been highly reputed at the times, since ‘a small vase full with white wine from Cortese’ was numbered in the “Gift annotation” offered to the young empress Margherita Teresa from the Asburgo house, when she passed through Acqui Terme on her journey from Madrid to the imperial palace of Vienna (Giorcelli, 1894).
The first Cortese’s brief description was given by count Nuvolone (1798), followed by the slightly more detailed depiction by the reporter from Valenza De Cardenas (Acerbi, 1825), who still considered Cortese ”a grape good for fresh consumption, but giving a weak flavourless wine”. The grape’s use as table grape is also mentioned later in XIX century.
Thanks to its generous productivity, Cortese became during the period when the Ampelography of the province of Alexandria was written (Demaria e Leardi, 1875), “the white grape variety more intensively cultivated in the province”.
The reference modern description is the one by Dalmasso et al. (1960), published by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture.