Even though different varieties are called today as in the past with the name Barbarossa – both for table- and wine- grapes – having in common only the red or red-green bedrry colour, perhaps the most famous Barbarossa is the one outlined by Count Giorgio Gallesio in his Pomona (1817-1839). Famous not so much because at that time the most widespread, but for the beautiful image of it created by Domenico Delpino in 1828.
The Barbarossa presented here, from Finale in the province of Savona, corresponds to the variety described by Gallesio, which in the late nineteenth century was present in western Liguria (Commissione Ampelografica Provinciale di Portomaurizio, 1881).
In truth the first mentions of a Barbarossa grape should be related to Tuscany, as per Soderini (1590), confirmed a couple of centuries later by Trinci (1726), however, historical references to varieties with this name appear in many other Italian regions including Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna, Apulia.
While Gallesio believed the Barbarossa from Finale identical to that of Tuscany and Piedmont, we know that it is definitely distinct from Barbarossa from the Asti region – once one of the most popular table grapes in Piedmont – and probably also different from those of Tuscany, Romagna and Apulia.
In truth the Barbarossa grapes homonyms, widespread in many regions, constitute a complex homonymy case that often impairs the ability to understand to which of the red-fruited historical vines belong the current Barbarossas.