A WRITER is helping to make a once-famous grape, called Famoso, famous again.

Intrigued by the story of how the variety was being saved by a passionate bunch of grape growers, Brighton-based wine and travel writer Chris Boiling ventured down to Bologna’s ancient Roman road, the Via Emilia, in search of the white grape’s saviours.

The 58-year-old wine lover found one cluster of producers in the hills near Faenza and another on the plains near Bagnacavallo. The original six saviours who fought to get Famoso registered as an official Italian grape variety in 2009 had expanded to more than a dozen and several of these producers had plans to plant more Famoso vines in their vineyards.

“What impressed me was their passion for this rare, ancient grape,” Chris said.

“They were determined to save it, even though there was no demand for it then.

"And they were all experimenting to bring out the best of the grape in the wines they made.

“Some were producing it as a sparkling wine, like Prosecco, some were drying the grapes to make a dessert wine, and one was maturing it in oak barrels.

"But, for me, the best versions were the bone-dry wines made in stainless steel tanks that allowed the distinctive flavour of the grape to shine through.”

He said the aromas and taste remind people of exotic flowers and fruits – such as linden flowers, hawthorn and orange blossoms mingled with peach, banana, green apple and apricot.

Chris, who studied wine production at Plumpton College, went back to the region last year with wife Karen to make his own version at the farm of the largest producer, Randi.

He will be launching this limited edition wine at Ten Green Bottles in Brighton on Sunday.

Tickets costing £20 are available at tengreenbottles.com.

The talk and tasting will also include other unusual wines from lesser-known grape varieties such as Furmint, Grasevina and Blaufrankisch.

“These are the fascinating wines I’ve discovered on my journey to becoming a winemaker,” Chris said. “Most people stick with drinking the same wine grapes – such as Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. There are more than 1,400 official wine grapes – why not try something a lot less famous?”