The Fortana Variety
A red berry variety, Fortana is cultivated mainly in the Padana countryside, known also as the Golden Grape, Brugnola, Black Dallora, Prungentile, the French black grape and Brugnera.
- Leaves: pentagon, medium to large with 3 to 5 lobes.
- Bunch: large, generous pyramid shaped, tightly clustered.
- Berries: ellipsoidal, tender thin skin, a black blue rich bloom.
The Fortana’s origins date back to King Louis XII of France’s daughter, the princess Renata, who married Ercole II d’Este and later became the Duchess of Ferrara. In 1528 Renata brought some of these vine plants with her from Cote-d’Or in Burgundy, the variety known today as Fortana or the Golden Grape, which, as the name suggests, perhaps refers to the grape variety’s wealth and prosperity or maybe it was due to its disease resistance and strength.
The first documented evidence regarding the grape variety comes from Agostino Gallo, halfway through the sixteenth century when he refers to its productive and organoleptic characteristics, calling it The Golden Grape.
The Golden Grape is yet again documented in 1674 by Vincenzo Tanara in “L’Economia del cittadino in villa”, as he describes the variety as being “the queen of the black grapes for making good wine, healthy, strong and plentiful”. Later in 1825, Giuseppe Acerbi mentions grape cultivation in the Oltrepò area.
Generally Fortana is cultivated all over the Padana countryside however, above all in the area known as Eliceo Forest in the province of Ferrara and Ravenna, where the Fortana grapes make up the base of the DOC (Controlled Designation of Origin) “Bosco Eliceo Fortana”.
Fortana is also grown in other areas such as the Parma countryside, San Secondo Parmense, Soragna, Busseto and the Piacentini hills. The Fortana from Taro has attained the IGT (Typical Geographical Indication) and due to its specific characteristics it is one of the few Italian varieties which grow on “ungrafted rootstock”. The sandy ground which is common to this area does not permit phylloxera developing or spreading, therefore it isn’t necessary to utilise American vine rootstocks.
Fortana’s ripening is late, the grape is robust. The Fortana variety produces a wine high in acidity, full of flavour, sapid and pleasantly tannic without being too alcoholic, suitable for sparkling wines. Its bloom is hermaphrodite and it’s self-fertile.