Canaiolo Wine

Canaiolo (Nero) is a black-skinned wine grape variety that was the main constituent of the Chianti blend up until the late 19th Century. It is still grown today throughout central Italy, though around 90 percent of the total (around 1,050 hectares / 2,600 acres) plantings are found in Tuscany. It is used as a blending grape in a wide range of Sangiovese-based wines.

Just a handful of varietal Canaiolo wines are produced, although interest in the variety is increasing. Canaiolo makes for soft and mellow wine with elegant aromatics and gentle tannins. It blends exceptionally well with Sangiovese and can accent herbaceous flavors found in the Chianti blend.

Canaiolo Grapes
© MIPAAF

Canaiolo was once extensively planted in Tuscany, Lazio, Marche and Sardinia, and it still exists, to a limited extent, in these regions. Canaiolo’s downfall was largely due to its resistance to grafting to American rootstock. Therefore it was not commonly replanted after Tuscany’s vines were ravaged by the phylloxera epidemic in the 19th Century.

Nevertheless, Canaiolo has been of considerable importance historically in Chianti. Some authorities have even argued that the variety is responsible for the successful development of the Chianti wine industry.

In the days before electricity and temperature-controlled fermentation, winemakers were much more vulnerable to inclement weather; if external temperatures plummeted during the crucial fermentation phase then the winemaker risked losing the entire production of wine.

One of Canaiolo’s great strengths is its ability to dry without rotting. Winemakers in the region soon learned that a ferment that had been prematurely arrested by cold weather could be reinvigorated by adding a portion of semi-dried grapes to the tank. The extra sugar of the semi-dried Canaiolo grapes would kick-start the ferment again and save the harvest. 

At least six different white wine varieties have been called Canaiolo Bianco in Tuscany. One of these is grown in greater quantities in Umbria as Drupeggio and used in the Orvieto blend. DNA studies published in 2011 showed that it is not a color mutation of Canaiolo Nero, as had previously been surmised.

Canaiolo Rosa is, however, a color mutation of the red grape. However only a few rows are cultivated in Tuscany.

Synonyms include: Canaiolo Nero, Caccione, Tindillaro, Uva Fosca.

Food matches for Canaiolo include:

  • Wild boar and mushroom ragu with pappardelle
  • Lamb and tahini koftas
  • Skirt steak with herbed crust
Production by region Expand/collapse

Most Popular Canaiolo Wine

Based on search frequency, updated monthly
Wine Name
Region
Popularity
Score
Avg Price
Sono Montenidoli 'Canaiulo' Rose Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT 20,696th 89 $23
Bibi Graetz Testamatta Canaiolo Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT 55,384th 91 $145
Castelvecchio in San Casciano '8 Numero Otto' Rosso Toscano IGT, Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT 72,404th 90 $28
Pacina Canaiolo Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT 74,514th $25
Azienda Agricola Possa 'U Neigru' Rosso, Liguria, Italy Liguria 81,685th $25
Conti Capponi Villa Calcinaia Rosato dei Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT, Tuscany, Italy Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT 90,560th 89 $11
Il Vinco 'Canajo' Rosso, Lazio, Italy Lazio 93,857th $21
La Lastra Canaiolo di Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT 110,527th $15
Le Lase 'Thesan' Canaiolo Nero Lazio IGT, Italy Lazio IGT 121,316th 90 $18
Castello della Paneretta Canaiolo Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT 127,670th 91 $36
Ormanni Canaiolo Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT 134,965th 90 $19
La Querce 'Belrosso' Canaiolo Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT 143,406th $10
Podere Anima Mundi 'Gava Gai' Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT 151,977th $21
Ottomani Canaiolo Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT 151,977th 87 $67
Terenzuola Merla della Miniera Canaiolo Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT 161,608th 90 $32
Tenuta di Sticciano 'Canajuolo' Rosso Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT 161,608th $23
Domaine de Coccirotti Lea Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT 161,608th $32
Vallone di Cecione Canaiolo Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT 172,943rd $18
La Querce 'Dama Rosa' Passito Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT 172,943rd 90 $40
Podere La Casaccia Canaiolo Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT 186,470th $34
Tenuta Cappellina 'Caspiolo' Rosso Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT 186,470th 89 $14
Poderi del Paradiso 'Rosa del Paradiso' Rosato Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT 186,470th $23
I Sodi Soprasassi Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT 186,470th 89 $34
Fattoria Casabianca 'Loccareto' Toscana IGT',Tuscany, Italy Toscana IGT 202,527th 90 $15
Pizzini Canaiolo, King Valley, Australia King Valley 222,207th 92 $17
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To see how Wine-Searcher uses average pricing and professional wine critic scores on this page, please see Average Wine Prices and Wine Scores. To find out about popularity, please see Wine Ranks.
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