The last three days has been extremely hot in Melbourne with temperatures soaring above 40° C (43°, 44°, 45°). For the past few weeks, I have been waiting to harvest my grapes. It looks like it has suffered from the heat. These are Uva Fragola, literally in Italian, strawberry grapes. These grapes are amazing, with intense flavour of strawberry. I was taken a back when I first tasted this grape. It is as if you have popped in a strawberry lolly in your mouth.
Though italian in name (it is also called Isabella), the grape species is originally from the Americas. It used to be grown in Italy. A dessert wine, Fragolino, is made from these grapes. However in 1999, it is outlawed to protect the local grape species.
I understand that there is a vineyard in Mytreford, Victoria (a province in Australia) that grew these grapes and produces real Fragolino (there are artificially flavoured ones). I personally have not tried this wine. Will see if I can find them here in the shop.
We planted the vine last year from cuttings. We are surprised how it grows so easily and fruiting in the first year. The cutting is from our favourite bistro River View, in Warburton, which is about 77 kilometers from Melbourne CBD at the foot of the Yarra Ranges (mountains). I will write about this bistro in my next blog.