Catarratto is a white Italian wine
Italian wine
Italian wine is wine produced in Italy, a country which is home to some of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world. Italy is the world's largest wine producer, responsible for approximately one-fifth of world wine production in 2005. Italian wine is exported largely around the world and has...

 grape planted primarily in Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 where it is the most widely planted grape. Overproduction in recent years has led to this grape being a substantial contributor to the European wine lake
Wine lake
The wine lake refers to the continuing supply surplus of wine produced in the European Union. A major contributor to that glut is the Languedoc-Roussillon, which produces over one-third of the grapes grown in France. In 2007 it was reported that for the previous several vintages, European...

 problem. Catarratto can make full bodied wines with lemon
The lemon is both a small evergreen tree native to Asia, and the tree's ellipsoidal yellow fruit. The fruit is used for culinary and non-culinary purposes throughout the world – primarily for its juice, though the pulp and rind are also used, mainly in cooking and baking...


Subvarieties and phenotypes

Catarratto exists in different phenotype
A phenotype is an organism's observable characteristics or traits: such as its morphology, development, biochemical or physiological properties, behavior, and products of behavior...

s characterised by different pruinosity, i.e., different amount of whitish "bloom" on the grape berries. When this bloom is largely absent, the grapes give a more glossy impression. Catarratto Bianco Comune is characterised by a high amount of bloom, while Catarratto Bianco Lucido has a limited amount of bloom, and is more glossy or 'lucid'. The distinction between the two was first described by the Ampelographic
Ampelography is the field of botany concerned with the identification and classification of grapevines, Vitis spp. Traditionally this has been done by comparing the shape and colour of the vine leaves and grape berries; more recently the study of vines has been revolutionised by DNA...

 Commission of Palermo
Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

 in 1883, which gave them their names. They are also registered as two different grape varieties in Italy, but DNA typing has shown them to be identical. Thus, the two phenotypes have resulted from massal selection of vines showing intravarietal variability of vines having been propagated vegetatively (by cuttings) from the same original seedling. A third variety or phenotype, Catarratto Bianco Extra Lucido, with a complete absence of bloom, was selected by B. Pastena in 1971 among Catarratto Bianco Lucido vines. This was also shown to be genetically identical with the other two, as was assumed by its origin.


An Italian study published in 2008 using DNA typing (the same study that showed the three Catarrattos to be identical) showed a close genetic relationship between Garganega
Garganega is a variety of white Italian wine grape widely grown in the Veneto region of North East Italy, particularly in the provinces of Verona and Vicenza. It is Italy's 6th most widely planted white grape...

on the one hand and Catarratto and several other grape varieties on the other hand. It is therefore possible that Garganega is one of the parents of Catarratto, however, since the parents of Garganega have not been identified, the exact nature of the relationship could not be conclusively established.


Catarratto is also known under the synonyms Castellaro, Cataratto Bertolaro, Catarratto Bianco Comune, Catarratto Bianco Extra Lucido, Cataratto Bianco Latino, Catarratto Bianco Lucido, Catarratto Bianco Lustro, Cataratto Bianco Nostrale, Cataratto Carteddaro, Catarratto Bertolare, Catarratto Bertolaro, Catarratto Bianco Latino, Catarratto Bianco Nostrale
Catarratto Carteddaro, Cattaratto Commune, and Catarrato Lucido.
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