Coda di Volpe is a white wine grape used to since ancient times in Campania, southern Italy. It is used to make medium- to full bodied white wines.
The name Coda di Volpe means "tail of the fox", and was given in reference to the variety's long, pendulous bunches of grapes, which resemble a fox's bushy tail. Coda di Volpe grapes are golden-yellow in color, as is the wine they make.
Coda di Volpe has seen something of a revival since the 1970s, and is now used to make varietal wines under several Campania DOCs, including Irpinia and Sannio. It is also used as a blending component in DOCs such as Sannio and Vesuvio. The latter covers wines from the lower slopes of Mount Vesuvius and generates the famous Lacryma Christi wines.
The grape's aromatic profile leans towards the fruity (citrus and sometimes even slightly tropical notes are encountered) and spicy (sweet rather than peppery in this instance). It is not particularly high in acidity, which is one reason that it has done so well in Vesuvius' volcanic soils.
Volcanic soils often impart higher acidity
to grapes grown in them. Winemakers in Alsace, most notably on the sunny slopes of Rangen Grand Cru, have long capitalized on this.
Italy is famous for its myriad grape varieties and synonyms, and Coda di Volpe has acquired several names over the centuries. Other terms by which this vine is known are Falerno (used in Campania's famous Falernia wine) and Durante.
However Coda di Pecora (Sheep's Tail), which was long thought to be a synonym, has been shown by DNA profiling to be a distinct variety. In his "Native Wine Grapes of Italy" book, Ian D'Agata notes that this long-time confusion is hard to explain, as the two varieties are quite different in appearance and behavior.