Timorasso grape in a nutshell
  • Timorasso is a native white grape of the Colli Tortonesi area in Southeastern Piedmont.
  • Once nearly extinct, it surged in popularity in recent years, thanks to a visionary producer who understood its word-class potential and paved the way for its renaissance.
  • Late-ripening and low-cropping, high acidity and the ability to concentrate aromatic compounds are its main calling cards.
Timorasso wine in a sip
  • The wines develop terrific complexity thanks to the noteworthy content of noriproseinods, which shape aromas of dried fruits, marzipan, saffron, diesel fuel, flint.
  • High-acid and structured at the same time, they owe their textural depth to the warm climate of the Colli Tortonesi area.
  • Timorasso pairs well with poultry, truffles, oily fish, and cheese.

What is Timorasso?

One of the most fascinating white grapes in Italy, Timorasso is exclusively grown in the Colli Tortonesi area of Southeastern Piedmont.

Hard to cultivate yet extremely rewarding, this variety has recently witnessed a surge in popularity after having risked extinction for several years.

Late-ripening, low-cropping and especially susceptible to disease pressure, with millerandage (uneven ripening of the berries) making it even harder to manage, Timorasso was outclassed by the higher-yielding Cortese grape, and by the late 1980s there was only half an hectare left. A visionary winemaker, Walter Massa, established the ground for its revival, rescuing the few surviving plants and understanding its world-class potential early on.

Timorasso, in fact, makes up for the difficulties in cultivating it with the uncommon ability to concentrate a noteworthy quantity of aromatic and phenolic compounds while retaining high acidity. To some extent, it is closer to top-notch red varieties than most white ones.

What are the origins of Timorasso?

Some historians argue the name may come from “Timorato” which means gentle, docile or fragile. Having been mentioned for the first time in a 14th-century treatise, it ranks among the oldest grape varieties in Piedmont.

Timorasso was the most widely cultivated in the Colli Tortonesi area until the first half of the 20th century. It was supplanted by Cortese and Barbera in the years when quantity was the sole focus of producers, only to be rediscovered between the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Where is Timorasso grown?

As of 2024, Timorasso covers roughly 400 hectares in the Colli Tortonesi area (660% more than twenty years ago). Some producers have also planted it in other parts of Piedmont like Langhe and Monferrato. A few hectares are also present in the Mikolayiv district of Ukraine.

What does Timorasso taste like?

Timorasso contains noteworthy quantities of aromatic compounds called noriproseinods which allow the wines to develop terrific complexity, especially with longer aging. Light gold to almost amber in color, they display distinctive aromas of dried herbs, lemon rind, dried fruits, marzipan, saffron, and Riesling-like touches of diesel fuel, struck match, and flint.

Colli Tortonesi is one of the warmest areas in Piedmont, and the wines usually range between 13 and 14% abv. However, the bold structure is always complemented by high acidity.

Aging in stainless steel on the fine lees is more common than oak aging as oak-derived aromas and flavors tend to camouflage the varietal imprinting.

Does Timorasso age well?

Not only Timorasso ages well: it usually takes a longer time than most other white varieties to achieve optimal balance. Extended aging intensifies the aromas of diesel fuel, spice and quince, and cellaring further reinforces these distinctive traits.

The combination of tension and concentration means that the resistance to oxidation of the best versions is truly remarkable: they rarely peak earlier than 10-15 years after harvest.

What kind of wine is similar to Timorasso?

Many experts describe Timorasso as a fuller-bodied Riesling, as the two wines share similar aromatic features deriving from specific kinds of norisoprenoids like TDN, which are responsible for the flinty and smoky aromas.

Timorasso is also nicknamed “Barolo Bianco” because of the premium positioning of the wines and their longevity.

What food does Timorasso pair with?

Given its structure and complexity, Timorasso pairs well with different dishes than most Italian white wines.

Poultry, oily fish, mushrooms and eggs or tagliolini with truffle rank among the best matches.

Soft yet flavorful cheeses such as Montebore, a specialty of the Colli Tortonesi area, and creamy and cheesy risotto also work well with aged versions.

Find out some yummi recepies on my Mamablip Cooking School


Selection of articles on grapes