The origin of the Aleatico is still today the subject of discussion. In 1303 De Crescenzi believed that it was of Tuscan origin and cited among the varieties formerly cultivated in the region the Livatica. Trinci, in 1738, thought that it had been introduced in Italy, especially in Puglia and Lazio, by the Greeks. In support of his thesis he hypothesized that the name Lyticum o Lyatica, once used to designate Aleatico, could derive from the Greek grape variety, grown on the island of Crete, liatiko. The latter, however, was very different from the Italian Aleatico; in the alternative, he put forward the hypothesis that the name could derive from the Greek word iuliatic, which means July, the month of its maturation.
In 1839 Gallesio believed that grapes Lyatica o Livatica derived from Moscati, by seed propagation. Di Rovasenda, in 1877, claimed in turn that the names Moscatello Nero and Moscato Nero were used, in some parts of Italy, to indicate Aleatico. Finally, recent studies conducted in 2001 by Crespan and Milani have shown that Aleatico has a close legal relationship with Moscato Bianco, with which it shares at least in part the unmistakable aroma. In the past, a white berried Aleatico was also known.
The black variety is also present in the Marche, where it is known by the name of Vernaccia Moscatella o Pergola Vernaccia. Aleatico was registered in the National Register of Vine Varieties in 1970. It is currently widespread mainly in Tuscany, cultivated in the provinces of Lucca, Pisa, Grosseto and Livorno, in particular in the coastal strip and on the Island of Elba, where it was once also used as a table grape.
It is present in purity in the Doc Sovana, Elba and Val di Cornia. It is part of the DOC Bolgheri Rosato, Morellino di Scansano, Vin Santo Occhio di Pernice dell'Elba, Monteregio di Massa Marittima Rosso, Parrina Rosso and Rosato. It is grown in Romagna, Marche, Lazio, Campania, Sicily and Puglia. In Puglia it is found mainly in Salento and in the province of Bari; it is used to produce Aleatico di Puglia Doc, Salice Salentino Doc and Gioia del Colle Doc.
The bunch is medium or medium-small, elongated, slightly loose or medium compact, with a wing. The berries are of medium size, spheroidal; the blue, thick, very waxy skin. It usually ripens during the first half of September in Puglia and later in Tuscany.
Thanks to Aleatico, velvety and full-bodied sweet wines are also produced, often using grapes dried on the vine, especially on the Island of Elba. The fresh grapes in purity give a ruby red wine with violet reflections, very aromatic, fine, with notes of violet, red fruit, jam. In the mouth it is intense, warm, soft, persistent. It is often present in blending with other Tuscan or Apulian varieties.