Chatus, the name used for this variety in France (Schneider et al., 2001), is not only the one in the earliest quotations of this cultivar, but it is also the name that avoid any confusion, as will be stated later. This variety is in fact grown since long times on both French and Italian sides of the western Alps. The earliest known historical reference is in the famous Théâtre d’Agriculture by Olivier de Serres (1600), where Chatus is quoted together with other grapes. Hailing from Maurienne according to some authors, in late 1800 its cultivation was spread in France from Savoy to Massif Central, always on acidic, poor, siliceous soils, where it was in the past the dominant variety in an astonishing mountain environment, shaped by the amazing intersecting of dry stone walls, hanging on the valleys following the contour lines (Couderc, 1902).
It is likely that Chatus was in the past highly widespead in Piedmont too, because it is found today, as variety of lesser importance and under different synoyms, alongside the foot of the Alps from Mondovì near the Ligurian Appennines to the Ossola valley (Schneider e Bronzat, 1991). With the synonyms Bolgnino and Nebbiolo di Dronero (o simply Nebbiolo) was mentioned because of its tollerance to Botrytis, and the wine deep colour and body (Di Rovasenda, 1902; Arrigo, 1910). Few decades before, the “Bulletins” edited by the Ampelographic Commissions of the Italian Provinces pointed out the intense cultivation of Bolgnino in the surroundings of Saluzzo, and its synoym Neretto (locally Neirét) in the area of Pinerolo (Commissione ampelografica provincia di Cuneo, 1879; Provana di Collegno, 1881). The historical references to a Brunetta or Scarlattin in the Susa valley, and to a Brachèt in the Canavese must be again assigned to Chatus, who has been observed in those places with those names.