History of Cabernet

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Written By Roberto d'Amato

The roots of Cabernet are different, are lost in the mists of time, some historians claim that they are to be found in Spain, towards the side of the Pyrenees and then this vine was imported to France, in Bordeauxthanks to the passage of some pilgrims, so much so that Cabernet was planted in the Loire, considered today to be the ideal area for its cultivation, as it prefers cold climates.

This vine variety was made famous and spread to the rest of France in the 17th century by French nobles such as Hector de Brane and Armand d'Armailhacq.

Cabernet grows strongly in the Gironde, in Saint-Emilion, a place that still represents the top quality of the grape variety.

On strong recommendations from the Cardinal Richilieu, Abbot Breton of the Abbey of Saint-Nicolas de Borgueil made it famous in the Loire area.

Later, during the 18th century, it was introduced in Friuli, Veneto and Trentino, regions where it is currently produced.

The Cabernet produced in Italy is very similar to that cultivated in the Loire valleys.

Other historical sources state that this vine variety derives from the Vitis Biturica, mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his work de naturalis Historia and which arrived in Italy from the port of Durazzo (in Albania), was later transplanted to France by Roman soldiers and planted there.

Some sources vigorously argue that in France the Edict of Domitian 98 A.D. with Emperor Probus was abolished (source Antony Dacomo cites a Roman Emperor, who lived in the 3rd century A.D., who decisively restored vine cultivation in an intensive manner.

Great figure on the accentuation and especially dissemination of the vine in Europe is the emperor Marcus Aurelius Probus not to be confused with the more famous Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus, another great emperor, intellectual and above all philosopher who lived a hundred years earlier.


This imperial and charismatic figure in the history of the wine of Probo comes out in all the places where Rome ruled vines were planted from the cold lands of Hadrian's Wall, to the warm Iberian Peninsula, to the whole of Gaul to the icy Germanic lands as far as Pannonia and Moesia along the Danube River, of course also Italy, this Emperor left his name engraved on all the winemakers of Europe and the World.

His foresight was to abolish Domitian's edict that promoted the cultivation of vines in all territories of the Roman Empire where it could grow, two centuries earlier Emperor Domitian had banned the cultivation and ordered the uprooting of vines in all territories beyond the Alps, with the intention of reintroducing wheat and grasses as a defence against possible famines.

The famous Emperor Probus in the Historia Augusta as the one who ensured that the Gauls, Hispanics and Britons could plant vineyards and produce wine, and he himself chose and planted the vines with his own hands on Mount Alma near Sirmio in Illyria .

We find the marble bust of the great Roman Emperor along the Moselle erected by local winegrowers as a devotion for giving lustre to this area with the vineyards that he encouraged by making Augusta Treverorum the capital of German wine-growing, without its imprint in encouraging the vineyards in the Rhine valleys would have been bleak Rhine valleys.

Recent genetic studies have proven through D.N.A. analysis that Burgundy vines are all descended from a common ancestor, a vine that was brought by Probo from Dalmatiaand underwent various mixes of genetic material.

This Roman emperor encouraged his legions to implant in the flourishing hills of Gaul and Pannonia the vineyards in moments of peace, so did Hannibal, to preserve his troops from dangerous idleness, had forced them to establish vast olive plantations along the coast of Africa.

This founding father of the modern viticultureto the sublime and great Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius Probus is born and dies in Sirmio, today's Sremska Mitrovica, not far from Belgrade, was born on 9 August 232 and was killed by conspiratorial soldiers, who were impatient with the pace of work they had to endure.

In Italy it is not known when exactly this wine arrived, some sources claim it arrived in 1820 by the Count Manfredo of Sambuywho began cultivating them by trying them out or experimenting with them on his estates in Marengo(Al) and in 1867 there is news of Cabernet in Verzuolo , in the Cuneo area, this vine was part of the ampelographic collection of the Count Giuseppe di Rovasenda.

Thanks to this emperor who planted wines throughout Europe, sublime wines such as the Champagne and Riesling, also thanks to the patient work of the oenologists).

In 1877, the cabernetthis grape variety was cultivated at the Royal School of Viticulture and Oenology of Conegliano, while in Trentino at the behest of of Emperor Franz Josephbeing the southernmost area of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Caberne winet officially made its appearance in Friuli in the year 1883,at the exhibition held in Udine in 1883,where it emerged that Cabernet was an excellent table wine and among the best qualities imported from the Bordeaux area.

It was at the exhibition organised in Cividale in 1896 that the jury, in charge of examining the numerous wines presented at the exhibition, awarded a gold medal to the Cabernet from the Brazzà company, that the public accustomed to the ever-improving wines of the time .

cabernet botte e dionisio
Servant of Dionysus on the barrel while drinking wine

Another excellent producer in Friuli of Cabernet the Counts Perusini Antonini and the Rocca Bernarda estate in Ipplis in the Udine region.

We can state that in Friuli wine has always helped the Friulians in the most difficult moments in historyas during the siege of theAbbey of Rosazzo brought by the Hungarians in 1431, or as when the Duke of Brunswick at war with Venice in 1509 put these territories under the rule of the Republic of St. Mark. Cividale del Friuli has always played a fundamental role in wine production.

The legionaries of Rome in Forum Julii (today's Cividale del Friuli founded by Julius Caesar) they introduced the vineThe Longobards not only made it the first capital of the Longobard kingdom, but it also became an important centre for the shipment of wine to Noricum and Pannonia.

Wine was so highly regarded by the Longobardsi, that even today one can admire the Vineyard of the Lord in a valuable stucco in the small temple of Santa Maria in Valleerected in the eighth century A.D. Cividale is also the site of a spring exhibition of local wines, which is held in memory of an ancient exhibition of red and white wines held in 1888, and in April 1896, a consumer fair of table wines was held in Cividale.

Wine in Friuli-Venezia-Giulia is history, philosophy, sociology, from an intellectual point of view, but it represents a form of social aggregation that breaks down every social fence, every ethnic prejudice and above all accentuates spiritual meditation to the point of reaching a divine dimension.

It should not be forgotten that many international agreements and treaties have been achieved tasting and sipping a good glass of wine Hence not only the beneficial properties of wine, but its decisive function in harmonising social relations.

The motto: vino veritas, always applies.

Principe Roberto dAmato e Contessa al Gala di casa savoia tenuto al palazzo reale di Monza

Author: Prince Don Roberto d'Amato, Doctor of Law, Doctor of Political and Economic and Social Sciences, Doctor of History.

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