“Bombino Bianco is a key white-wine grape grown in central and southeastern Italy. Valued more for its generous yields than its aromatic qualities, it has earned itself the nickname Pagadebit (“the debt payer”). Confusingly, this pseudonym has also been given to a number of other grape varieties, including Mononico Bianco, Mostosa and Passerina. In some regions Bombino Bianco also goes by the highly evocative name Straccia Cambiale, again in reference to its reliably high yields. Stracciare means “to tear up”, and a cambiale is an account of one’s debts.
Something of a workhorse, Bombino Bianco is used to make all manner of bulk-produced wine and is rarely the star performer in any wine. During the 1960s and 1970s, when Italy made a specialty of over-cropped, under-flavored blending wines, Bombino Bianco came into its own. Many millions of liters of European table wine were produced each year, based on Bombino Bianco from the vineyards of northern Puglia, Abruzzo, Lazio and Emilia-Romagna.
Although not directly related to any form of Trebbiano (of which there are several), Bombino Bianco is known in Abruzzo as Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. The habit of calling a variety Trebbiano of somewhere-or-other is common; other examples include Trebbiano di Lugana and Trebbiano di Soave (both of which are, in fact, Verdicchio) and Trebbiano di Toscana.
Despite the above, Bombino Bianco is not a one-trick pony, capable of producing only bland bulk wines. When growers resist the urge to capitalize on the variety’s high yields and instead aim for quality rather than quantity, the result is good-quality, subtly fragrant wine. This seems to happen only in Abruzzo, however, and with the success in Italy of other, more marketable white wine varieties (Chardonnay being the most obvious), the chances of Bombino Bianco rising to fame and prestige any time soon are minimal.
There is a dark-skinned variant of Bombino Bianco grown almost exclusively in Puglia, notably around Castel del Monte. Its name, perhaps predictably, is Bombino Nero.” – Wine Searcher