Diversity Is The Attraction Of Emilia-Romagna Wines

Food & Drink

The northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna (created by conjoining these two separate regions in 1947) resembles a side view of a buffalo lacking front legs and looking left. The northwest (head) includes Piacenza, while the southeast (back ankle) includes the Adriatic coastal city of Rimini. Between these cities—and moving along a generally southeast to northwest axis—are the cities of Bologna, Modena, Reggio Emilia, and Parma. These all lie just north of, and at the base of, the Apennine Mountains—Italy’s topographical backbone. The route joining these centers also follows the path of Via Aemilia—once a straight Roman road constructed in the second century B.C. linking Rimini and Piacenza. This land is saturated with history, feisty culinary traditions and a diverse range of wines.

There is a wide range and variety of wine types produced within Emilia-Romagna. This means the region lacks one specific dominant viticultural identity. This can be advantageous. Pierluigi Sciolette, President of Enoteca Regionale Emilia-Romagna, put it aptly when he emphasized the importance of diversity.

“A swimming pool is not enough for tourism, although–sometimes–a table with salami, slices of bread and wine are enough. Today we’re focusing on wine tourism because to know our products sometimes you have to go to the house of winemakers and learn of their lives and interests. Visitors are impressed by our different wine varieties and unique local cultures. We want to promote different territorial segments along the Roman road between Rimini and Piacenza, and the wines associated with different cuisines and cultures.”

Regional wines within Emilia-Romagna include Lambrusco, a low alcohol level red sparkler that has soared in power and quality in the last decade. This can now be deep, plush and brilliantly structured but continues to be available for almost ridiculously low prices. Sangiovese, which can also be excellent—both bold on the nose and silky in the mouth—can be overshadowed by neighboring Tuscany’s toehold on this grape’s identity (some Emilia-Romagna’s winemaker are also raising their Sangiovese prices too highly, perhaps to reflect those of prime Tuscan estates). Pignoletto is certainly unique and examples can shine with distinct aromas of yeast and lime. However, it’s important to reduce occasional acridity or else some juice can resemble a disjointed orange wine. Sparkling wines—bollicine and vini spumante—have their diversity and attraction and many are excellent with food. Indigenous grapes are often distinct and well worth developing and promoting. These include the following:

White Grapes.

Ortrugo—with fresh acidity and an ample taste of ripe pears.

Pagadebit (Bombino Bianco)—mixing minerality with aromas of flint and salt.

Biancale (Bianchello)—aromas of lemon, lime and grass.

Spergola—crushed lime and green grass aromas and tastes of beautiful minerality.

Albana—think open floral and lime aromas.

Red Grapes.

Malvasia Rosa—pink colored grapes producing wine with gin and tonic aromas.

Malbo Gentile—includes spiciness: pepper and cumin and cedar aromas.

Fortana—brisk, acidic and pairs well with seafood.

Sorbara—used for making one type of Lambrusco and including the plush taste of plums.

Fantini—including dark fruit and strawberry aromas.

Each year the city of Bologna hosts Enologica, where Emilia-Romagna winemakers showcase wares inside the beautiful Palazzo Re Enzo. The university city of Bologna is a humming, throbbing, visitor packed vibrant locale oozing an easygoing mood in a stone ocean with waves of gorgeous ancient architecture. Chestnuts roast in huge roadside pans while small, lively and affordable restaurants serve local charcuterie with glasses of frothy purple Lambrusco.

The following wine tasting notes are from Enologica. Only wines scoring 89 points or above on a 100-point scale are included, and many are evaluated for value.

Cantine Bonelli. Bel di Vedremo Ortrugo (white). 2018.

€4.00/$4.45 Local Price [Superlative Value ♫♫♫]

Made from the Ortrugo grape, this includes a sizzling fresh acidic nose bursting with ripe pears. The owner says it sells well in San Francisco. This winery in the hilly Trebbia Valley region was founded in the 1940’s right after the war, and produces a wide and diverse range of grapes and wines.

Cantine Bonelli. Tesore Un Immane Guttornio Riserva (red). 2016.

€5.00/$5.55 Local Price [Superlative Value ♫♫♫]

Made from a blend of red Barbera and Bonarda grapes (which are typical of the Piacenza region in western Emilia-Romagna) and aged for one year in different sized French oak barrels, this includes hefty, vibrant, fruit spitting aromas. Delicious.

Enio Ottavini. Strati – Pagadebit (white). 2018.

€8.00/$8.90 Local Price [Excellent Value ♫♫]

The white Pagadebit grape, also known as Bombino Bianco, typically grows near the Adriatic. Aromas include sulphur, flint and salt—a minerality cocktail. In the mouth the taste is wide, open and refreshing. This is an easy drinker. The family winery based in Rimini has been in operation for 60 years and, being literate Italians, believe that ‘what is in our glass is the poetry of the earth.’ Bravo!

Fattoria Moretto. Semprebon Lambrusco Grasparossa.

€7.50/$8.35 Local Price [Excellent Value ♫♫]

This third generation family winery is located near the city of Modena and focuses on low yield, organic Lambrusco Grasparossa. Made with grapes from vines at least 25 years old, this includes cherry bomb aromas and a taste that is both smooth and elegant.

Cantine Valsamoggia. Prestige Brut Cuvèe – Pignoletto.

€3.50/$3.90 Local Price [Superlative Value ♫♫♫]

Distinctive aromas of peanuts and fresh bread and a lively, yeasty taste.

Cantina di Carpi e Sorbara. 23 Novecento Lambrusco Il Sorbara.

€3.75/$4.20 Local Price [Excellent Value ♫♫]

This form of Lambrusco has a light color and drier taste that Grasparossa. Aromas of black cherries and strawberries. Herbaceousness, green apples and red fruits in the mouth. Goes well will sushi.

Cantina di Carpi e Sorbara. 03 Novecento Lambrusco Il Santa Croce.

€3.75/$4.20 Local Price [Superlative Value ♫♫♫]

Strong and structured aromas, intense red fruit. In the mouth this is a purple surprise—wow! Exploding with flavors. Lemon water meets cherry chocolates. This is a taste carnival ride, at a price that is unbelievable.

Consorzio Vini Tipici di San Marino. Biancale di San Marino. 2018.

€5.40/$5.99 Local Price [Superlative Value ♫♫♫]

The white grape Biancale, known elsewhere in Italy also as Bianchello, produces wine comparable to that from Trebbiano d’Abruzzo and is routinely used within the tiny republic of San Marino. This has distinct lemon/lime and grassy aromas and in the mouth tastes of candy, caramel and peanuts.

Consorzio Vini Tipici di San Marino. Caldese di San Marino. 2017.

€5.40/$5.99 Local Price [Superlative Value ♫♫♫]

Made from Chardonnay and aged for 12 months, this includes a taste similar to a buttery California Chardonnay, but with a strong zipper of unbridled acidity.

Tenuta Mara. Guiry Biodynamic Sangiovese. 2017.

€16.00/$17.80 Local Price [Good Value ♫]

Fermented in concrete tanks and aged a total of 14 months. Aromas here are are a reminder of a blackberry bramble bush—sweet but wild. This biodynamic vineyard/winery is located in San Clemente in Rimini province, where the owners play classical music within vines.

Tenuta Mara. Maramia Sangiovese Rubicone. 2016.

€33.00/$36.65 Local Price [No Value Scoring]

Aged in French oak for 16 months, this wine is energetic and has hefty and vibrant red fruit aromas. Beautifully rounded, well-made, balanced and with a luscious aftertaste that will make you think layered chocolate cake.

Lini 910. Gran Cuvée di Lambrusco Spumante.

€15.00/$16.65 Local Price [Good Value ♫]

Includes a fresh and energetic nose and is very fruity and well balanced.

La Marmocchia. Pignoletto Superiore. 2018.

€5.00/$5.55 Local Price [Superlative Value ♫♫♫]

This includes a fresh, open nose similar to a Pinot Gris, and aromas of spearmint and limes. Juicy, easy drinking, slippery down the throat pleasure.

La Marmocchia. Cavariol Bologna Rosso. 2018.

€5.00/$5.55 Local Price [Excellent Value ♫♫]

This Cabernet Sauvignon is a fun and light, Barbera-like wine made in the hills of Bologna.

Cantina Sociale de San Martino in Rio. 1907 Rio Lambrusco di Sorbara.

€4.00/$4.45 Local Price [Superlative Value ♫♫♫]

Made from the Sorbara grape, this wine includes light tension on the nose, almost sizzling with aromas of petrol and cedar. In the mouth this tastes of plums.

Cantina Sociale de San Martino in Rio. Lirico Rio Lambrusco. 2018.

€4.40/$4.90 Local Price [Superlative Value ♫♫♫]

This Lambrusco Salamino includes good energy with aromas of cotton candy and bubble gum. This is a deep, dark, bubbling surprise. Puts your mind inside the bubbling froth of Lambrusco bubbles.

Fattoria Monticino Rosso. Codronchio Albana Secco. 2016.

€12.00/$13.40 Local Price [Good Value ♫]

Sizzling aromas of limes—tight and focused on the nose.

Lusvardi. Blanc Spergola (sparkling). 2018.

€9.00/$9.99 Local Price [Superlative Value ♫♫♫]

This small winery with 8-acres (3 hectares) of grapes has been certified organic in Italy since 2014. This sparkling wine made from the Spergola grape includes aromas of banana chips, crushed lime and green grass. Good minerality derives from the clay and chalk soils and in the mouth this tastes crisp, refreshing and distinct.

Mossi 1558. Ca’ del Marino Brut Spumante.

€15.00/$16.65 Local Price [Excellent Value ♫♫]

This sparkler is from Piacenza, the ‘last valley of the last valley’ in the northwest of Emilia-Romagna This wine spends ten years on lees and is made using the classical method from a blend of Ortrugo/Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the ratio 70/20/10. Fresh bread and lime aromas followed by a taste that includes mint and spearmint. Relatively well focused. This is a gorgeous sweet and feisty carnival in the mouth, with tastes of honey and yeast and even a hint of paprika, pineapple and guava. Gorgeous!

Mossi 1558. Rosmata Sweet Wine.

€17.50/$19.50 per 50 ML bottle Local Price [Good Value ♫]

Made from the very rare Malvasia Rosa grape, this late harvest wine includes aromas of orange rinds and dried raisins, and tastes of rum and licorice.

Mossi 1558. Le Solane. 2003.

(96 points) €20.00/$22.20 per 50 ML bottle Local Price [No Value Scoring]

This wine from the 2003 vintage is made from Malvasia di Candia Aromatica grape and includes brandy and oranges on the nose and is a Christmas cake of complex flavors in the mouth—including treacle and cloves.

Terraquila. Il Nativo Ancestrale (Pignoletto). 2017.

€12.00/$13.35 Local Price [Excellent Value ♫♫]

This Pignoletto is a 85/15 blend of Grechetto Gentile and Trebbiano Romagnolo. This is fresh and sparkling and includes aromas of almonds and limes and has a distinctly yeasty taste. This sparkling wine is made using the traditional method and spends 28 months on lees.

Terraquila. Falconero Zero Lambrusco Grasparossa. 2017.

€9.50/$10.55 Local Price [Excellent Value ♫♫]

This includes aromas of cherries and tar and a distinctive dark licorice streak. Made from grapes grown over limestone at elevations of 1,300 to 1,600 feet (400 to 500 meters). Here, Lambrusco Grasparossa is blended with a tiny amount of an indigenous grape called Malbo Gentile, which adds spiciness.

Terraquila. Malbone. 2016.

€10.00/$11.10 Local Price [Good Value ♫]

Made from the Malbo Gentile grape. Dark nose of pepper, cumin, treacle, cedar, menthol and tastes of salty Dutch licorice meeting a dark brownie with nuts and plums. Within moments the saltiness transforms to sweetness. This is distinctive and swims across your tongue.

Cleto Chiarla Tenute Agricole. Rosé de Noir Brut – Lambrusco Gasparossa.

€11.50/$12.80 Local Price [Good Value ♫]

This has a generously wide and fruity nose and is a beauty in the mouth with tastes of fresh bread, strawberries and a streak of squeezed lemon. Made with 10 hours of contact maceration. The company is more than 150 years old and is located in Modena.

Cleto Chiarla Tenute Agricole. Lambrusco Cialdini. 2018.

€11.00/$12.25 Local Price [Superlative Value ♫♫♫]

Made from Lambrusco Grasparossa, this includes aromas of blueberries, blackberries and Nutella spread. In the mouth it is like chewing saltwater taffy—a sticky delight.

Azienda Santa Giustina. 1937 Vino Spumante Rosé Brut.

Made from Barbera, Pinot Noir and Croatina, this includes a distinct and hefty nose with aromas of acorns, green peppers and a dank, wet forest. In the mouth tastes include those of fresh bread.

Cantina Della Volta. Lambrusco di Sorbara Spumante Rosé.

Bread and yeast and pine needles on the nose and lively herbaceousness in the mouth.

Lusvardi. Stillnovo Emilia Rosé.

Aromas of honey and butter as though an oaked Chardonnay. A three course meal on the nose. Limes and cashews in the mouth and a slight hit of salinity.

Quinto Passo. Lambrusco Rosé Brut.

Aromas of bread and mandarins, and a full mouth of red fruits.

Bolé. Novebole DOC Spumante.

Made from Trebbiano Romagna, includes aromas of cedar, flint and zested lemon. The taste accentuates lime.

Bonelli. Il Fundatore Anacleto Brut Modelo Classico (Chardonnay). 2014.

Honey, peaches, grapefruit on the nose and a taste of bread in the mouth for this blanc de blanc brut. 42 months in the bottle. Dry and slightly saline.

Tenuta Venturini Baldini. Cadelvento Lambrusco Grasparosso Spumante Rosato.

Ample red fruits and strong acidity and salinity from this 12% alcohol rosé that includes both Sorbara and Grasparossa varieties of Lambrusco.

Drei Donà Tenuta La Palazza. Blanc de Blancs Brut.

Sizzling zested lemons on the nose from this Chardonnay, and tastes of brioche bread and yeast.

Products You May Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *