By Bob Lipinski

Tuscany, which is in central Italy north of Latium, is the home of such great red wines as Chianti, Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, Morellino di Scansano, Carmignano, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Sangiovese is the main grape in these wines along with some local and international red grape varieties. Some of the lesser-known local red grapes include Ciliegiolo, Colorino, and Mammolo. Unfortunately, their use as blending grapes especially in Chianti and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is being supplanted by international grape varieties such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Comments regarding sensory characteristics of Ciliegiolo, Colorino, and Mammolo are generic rather than specific to a particular DOC or DOCG wine.

“But if you come, I shall pour for you Etruscan Chianti similar to ruby that kisses you and bites you and makes you shed sweet tears.” (Fulvio Testi, 1593-1646, Italian poet)


Ciliegolo Grapes

Ciliegolo Grapes

Ciliegiolo (chee-lee-eh-JOH-loh): A thick-skinned, low acid, red grape variety grown predominantly in Tuscany, where it is thought to have originated. Ciliegiolo is also grown in many other regions, and in Spain. Its name is thought to be derived from the cherry aroma of the grapes.

In 2004, it was determined by DNA analysis that Sangiovese is a natural cross of Ciliegiolo (a common blending partner) and Calabrese di Montenuovo (a grape from Campania).

Some DOC wines made with the Ciliegiolo grape include Amelia, Colli del Trasimeno, Colli di Faenza, Colli di Rimini, Colli Maceratesi, Colline di Levanto, Colline Lucchesi, Genazzano, Golfo del Tigullio, Maremma Toscana, Montecarlo, Montecucco, Orcia, Rosso Orvietano, San Ginesio, Sovana, Val di Cornia, Val Polcèvera, and Vignanello. The lone DOCG wine is Vernaccia di Serrapetrona.

Sensory Characteristics: Wines are ruby red with a bouquet and flavor of cherries, strawberries, and spices.


Colorino Grapes

Colorino (koh-loh-REE-noh): A thick-skinned red grape variety grown principally in Tuscany, although some it planted in Latium, Liguria, Marches, and Umbria. Colorino is used mostly for blending, because the grape produces wines with extremely dark color and considerable tannin.

Some DOC and DOCG wines made from the Colorino grape include Montecarlo, Orcia, and Chianti (DOCG), and Chianti Classico (DOCG).

Sensory Characteristics: Wines are deep beet red with a bouquet of earthy notes and roses, and a flavor of Golden Delicious apples, black cherries, black currants, chocolate, cinnamon, and licorice.


Mammolo Grapes

Mammolo (MAHM-moh-loh): A red grape variety occasionally used in the blend of Chianti wines from Tuscany. Mammolo is also known as Mammolo Toscano, Sciaccarello (Corsica, France), and more than five other synonyms.

Some DOCG wines made from the Mammolo grape include Chianti and Chianti Classico.

Sensory Characteristics: Wines have flavors of red fruits and spices, with hints of violets.

Bob Lipinski, the author of 10 books on alcoholic beverages and food, consults, and conducts training seminars on Wine, Spirits, and Food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at OR


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