2009 Campbells Wines Trebbiano

I can't say if I've tried much varietal Trebbiano in the past. Those that were consumed usually came blended with Chardonnay or Colombard and in four litre cardboard handbags from some winery like Woop Woop Estate. The mere thought of these wines gives me a headache as if I'm suffering some kind of retrospective hangover. But I guess they had their import in the greater scheme of things as far as industry objectives and consumer demand were concerned at the time and possibly still do if you take a look into some retail outlets today. 

Trebbiano or 'White Hermitage' as it was known, has been in Australia since James Busby introduced it in the 1830's. Most plantings are found in New South Wales and South Australia with few these days offered as varietal wines. Campbells, one of Australia's first families of wine now 140 years young, grew the grape originally for sherry production at its Rutherglen Winery in north east Victoria. The slow decline in public consumption of fortified wines towards the latter half of the 1960's meant that in order to meet the increasing popularity of table wines, Campbells reinvented their two white varieties one of which was Trebbiano, into varietal wines. The multiple award winning Glenburn Trebbiano was their first release and a trail blazer for this varietal in Australia. 

Trebbiano is a variety indigenous throughout Italy enjoying the title as its most widely- planted white grape variety and is included in over 80 DOC's. The whites from the Orvieto region of Umbria are probably the most renown of Trebbiano-based blends using a local clone Procanico in the mix. A fun fact. The Trebbiano grape is also used in the production of balsamic vinegar. 
Furthermore, Trebbiano holds second position as most planted vine in the world in terms of acreage, behind the Spanish white grape Airen! The what? It appears however that in recent years the crown Airen wore as the world's most planted grape has slipped, that distinction now held by Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Airen still holds the mantle as world's most widely-planted white grape variety.    
Under the name Ugni Blanc in France, the Trebbiano vine holds most widely-planted white grape status and appears to have had more success there than anywhere else. It grows extensively along the Provencal coast, the Gironde and Charente regions where it is mainly used as table wine. In the Cognac and Armagnac regions where it is known as St. Emilion, Trebbiano is used in providing wine for distilling into brandy.

Despite the records and importance in various regions, Trebbiano cannot escape the fact that it produces varietal wines of bland uniformity, better known for high quantity yields rather than for quality vintages. In the glass the 2009 Campbells vintage is a clear mid-yellow in colour. Aromas of honey suckle and dried grass are quite restrained with the palate clean, zesty.and to a degree, mouth-puckering. A light-bodied white whose green peach, lime fruit and herbal nuances are overwhelmed by the tart acidity and alcohol. There's an unpleasant razor's edge feel through to the finish. It's a wine, not unlike Muscadet that screams out for fresh shell fish but without food, I unfortunately cannot call this more than a quaffer. 

Trebbiano's reputation precedes it and it is difficult to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Campbells Wines has probably made a wine as best as it could given the grape's blandness and for that it should be commended.

Source: Retail Purchase. Alcohol: 13%. Closure: Screwcap. Rating: 85 Points.  
Website: http://www.campbellswines.com.au/ 

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