Vitovska is a native of the region known in Italy as Carso, and in Slovenia as Kras (Karst in English): a limestone plateau on either side of the Italy-Slovenia border.
A natural cross between Malvasia Bianca Lunga and Glera (previously known as Prosecco), Vitovska is found to a very limited extent on both sides of the border. The Italian agricultural census of 2010 records almost 50 hectares under the synonym Vitouska, and Slovenia had fewer than 20ha in 2009, under the name Vitovska Grganja.
Vitouska/Vitovska and Vitovska Grganja are commonly thought to refer to the same variety, although one 2008 DNA study has suggested that the latter is an offspring of the former.
The wines are generally dry with complex aromas and flavours that may include pear, quince and citrus, as well as herbs or hay. The variety is well suited to the long skin maceration favoured by most producers, which gives the wines a tannic structure: in Friuli, Zidarich's Vitovska is a brilliant demonstration of variety and winemaking in harmony. Other Italian examples include Edi Kante, Vodopivec, Silvano Ferluga, Castello di Rubio and Skerk.
Wine Grapes by Jancis Robinson MW, Julia Harding MW and José Vouillamoz; www.winegrapes.org
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