What the heck is Maceratino? The more I researched this grape, the more I found myself asking that particular question. There are a lot of suggestions out there for what Maceratino could be, but very few answers as to what it really is. I did a little bit of digging and found some interesting stuff in the scientific literature that may help to shed a little light on the situation.
A lot of the confusion with Maceratino has to do with synonyms. Maceratino has 21 synonyms listed in the VIVC, and, confusingly, eight of those synonyms include the word Greco while four include the word Verdicchio. Many sources (including the OCW, Wikipedia and this Italian source) indicate that there may be some kind of relationship between Maceratino and Greco and/or Verdicchio, and some of them use the overlapping synonyms as an argument for that. There are some ampelographic similarities between the vines that has led to the grapes sharing some synonyms, but it hasn’t ever really been clear whether there’s a serious genetic relationship between Maceratino, Greco and/or Verdicchio. While I didn’t find any studies that answered the question directly, I think I was able to find some answers by linking the findings from a few different studies together.
Before taking a look at Maceratino, I first wanted to take a look at the relationship between Greco and Verdicchio. The OCW indicates that Maceratino could be related to either Greco or Verdicchio, but Wikipedia indicated that it was related to both, which naturally implies some sort of relationship between Greco and Verdicchio themselves. The Wikipedia article on Verdicchio makes this a bit more explicit, as they say that with Verdicchio, there “appears to be a genetic relation to Trebbiano and the Grecogrape varieties.” We explored the relationship between Trebbiano and Verdicchio in the post on Turbiana, but this was the first that I had heard about an alleged relationship between Verdicchio and Greco. The source for this claim is Bastianich and Lynch’s Vino Italiano, which refers to Greco as a family of grapes with the Umbrian Grechetto as a subvariety and the Sicilian Grecanico as either a synonym for Greco proper or merely an offshoot of the family. The authors further maintain that “greco may well have been the progenitor of most of the white varieties in Italy, including trebbiano, verdicchio, and the garganega of Soave in the Veneto,” according to “some historians and scientists.”
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