Wine Culture and Information since 2002 - Volume 18
×
Home Page Events Wine Guide Wine of the Day Aquavitae Wine Places Guide Podcast Polls EnoGames EnoForum Serving Wine Alcohol Test
Follow DiWineTaste on DiWineTaste Mobile for Android DiWineTaste Mobile for iOS Become a Registered User Subscribe to the Mailing List Tell a Friend About DiWineTaste Download DiWineTaste Card
About Us Write Us Back Issues Advertising General Index
Privacy Policy
 


 Editorial  Share this article     Summary of ABC Wine column Wine Tasting 
  ABC Wine Issue 49, February 2007   
Emilia-RomagnaEmilia-Romagna  Contents 
Issue 48, January 2007 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 50, March 2007

Emilia-Romagna

The placid region stretching along the Po valley, it is known for its rich cuisine, but also for its white, red, sweet and sparkling wines

 You talk about Emilia-Romagna and you think about its rich cuisine, delicious, tasty, exuberant, cordial and hospitable, just like the people living in this region. It is not only the rich and colored cooking of this region to distinguish Emilia-Romagna, but also art, culture and history, as well as the famous cordiality and hospitality of its inhabitants. In this context, so rich and complex, also wine has a specific role, here as somewhere else in Italy, the beverage of Bacchus plays a fundamental role in the culture of the region. The region is divided in two distinct geographical and cultural areas: Emilia, in the western part, and Romagna, in the eastern part. The two areas are not distinguished for the different cooking style only - in both cases rich and tasty - but also for the way they make wine, and therefore the grapes cultivated in vineyards. Emilia is the indisputable homeland of the many “Lambrusco”, sparkling red wines - or like they are used to call them, sharp and alive - which would certainly be better revaluated. In Romagna wine is mainly made dry and it is produced with Sangiovese, Albana and Pignoletto grapes, as well as other varieties.


The main production areas of Emilia-Romagna
The main production areas of Emilia-Romagna

 The history of vine and wine in Emilia-Romagna has very ancient origins, dated back to the beginning of civilization and everything began, presumably, with the most famous grape of Emilia - the western part of the region - and from which it is produced one of the most famous Italian wines in the world: Lambrusco. This wild grape was known since Virgil's times, and also Pliny the Elder mentioned it in his Naturalis Historia. It was Virgil to tell - in his fifth bucolics - Vitis Labrusca was already known since two thousand years. Pliny the Elder recognized to this grape medical properties and he describes, for the first time, its characteristics. Some archaeological findings confirms the long history of Vitis Labrusca, thanks to the discovery of fossilized seeds and roots belonging to this species, dated back between the twentieth and tenth century b.C. Lambrusco can therefore be defined, with no doubt, the progenitor of viticulture in Emilia-Romagna.

 Despite this important archaeological discoveries, there are no reliable information about the use of Vitis Labrusca at those times for the production of wine. The first reliable information about the cultivation of vine and the production of wine in Emilia-Romagna are dated back to the seventh century b.C., at the times of the Villanovian civilization in Verrucchio, near Rimini. The archaeological findings in these areas have in fact allowed to reliably define that at those times the inhabitants of these lands practiced viticulture. Other important evidences about viticulture and production of wine in Emilia-Romagna are also dated back to the times of the Etruscan dominion. Another important evidence is offered by Varro in his De Re Rustica, where he wrote that in the Po valley, after the drainage works done in the area, here were cultivated Albana, Trebbiano, Cagnina and Spergola, varieties which produced huge crops of grapes. During the dominion of Gauls, viticulture will not significantly develop and only after the dominion of ancient Romans the cultivation of the vine and the production of wine will begin to develop.


 

 Viticulture undergoes a new development from the fifth century a.D. on, and it is dated back to this time the introduction from Dalmatia of the Refosco Terrano grape, known in Emilia-Romagna as Cagnina. After the Longobard invasions, in 568 a.D., viticulture and production of wine undergo a period of recession and it will be thanks to the work done by the many religious orders, here as everywhere else in Europe, the cultivation of vine and the production of wine will be kept from further recessions. A significative contribution to the viticulture of this region was done by the monastic order of Benedictine, in particular in the area near Ferrara, from whose activity, in later times, will be originated the viticulture of Bosco Eliceo. There are many interesting documents written in later times and in which are mentioned the many varieties found in the territory of Emilia-Romagna, in particular the Lambrusco varieties. From the seventeenth century on, there are many documents describing the many varieties of Lambrusco, at those times already considered a tamed variety and not a wild variety, widely used for the production of sharp and sparkling wines.

 In the 1800s, here as somewhere else, the arrive of phylloxera will stop viticulture. In this context, it is singular the case which happened in the delta of Po river, near the present territory of Bosco Eliceo DOC, where vineyards of Fortana grapes were not affected by this parasite and, still today, they are grafted in the original rootstock instead of American ones. With the end of sharecropping, in the 1900s, in Emilia-Romagna will be established, as well as in other Italian regions, small private estates and many cooperatives of producers, therefore beginning a production based on quantity and that will have Lambrusco as one of its protagonists. This long period of production based on quantity, will also determine the destiny of Lambrusco. If it is true this wine allowed Lambrusco to be known everywhere in the world, in particular in the United States of America, the disputable quality of these productions has originated the common belief this grape is used for the production of ordinary wines only. This prejudice is clearly denied by the many examples of quality productions made with Lambrusco grape.

 While the wineries of Emilia-Romagna were focused on the production of huge quantities of wine, in the 1960s some wineries tried to start a production of quality wines, a decision, perhaps, made too early at those times. In 1962, in order to safeguard the image of Romagna's wine, in Faenza was founded the “Consorzio Vini Tipici Romagnoli” (Consortium for Typical Wines of Romagna) which will then become “Ente Tutela Vini di Romagna” (Institute for the Safeguarding of Romagna's Wines), distinguished by the unmistakable mark of the “Passatore”, Stefano Pelloni, the famous bandit who lived in this land in the 1800s. In 1970 was founded another important institution, “Enoteca Regionale Emilia-Romagna”, which still today is in charge, by law, to the spreading and promotion of the wines of this region. The path for quality of wines in Emilia-Romagna will take in recent years two different although parallel ways, in which they will try to revaluate both the autochthonous varieties of the region, as well as by introducing the so called “international” varieties, most of the times used together with local varieties.

 

Classification of Emilia-Romagna

 The wines of Emilia-Romagna are classified according to the quality system in force in Italy, where, to the lowest level of the system, is found Vini da Tavola (Table Wines), followed by Indicazione Geografica Tipica wines (IGT, Typical Geographical Indication), Denominazione d'Origine Controllata (DOC, Denomination of Controlled Origin) and Denominazione d'Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG, Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin). In Emilia-Romagna are currently defined 20 Denomination of Controlled Origin areas and one Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin area recognized to Albana di Romagna, the first Italian white wine to achieve this ranking. The 20 DOC areas of Emilia-Romagna are: Bosco Eliceo, Cagnina di Romagna, Colli Bolognesi, Colli di Faenza, Colli di Imola, Colli di Parma, Colli di Rimini, Colli di Scandiano e di Canossa, Colli Piacentini, Colli Romagna Centrale, Lambrusco di Sorbara, Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro, Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce, Pagadebit di Romagna, Reggiano, Reno, Romagna Albana Spumante, Sangiovese di Romagna and Trebbiano di Romagna. The Colli Bolognesi denomination includes the following subareas: Colline di Oliveto, Colline di Riosto, Colline Marconiane, Monte San Pietro, Serravalle, Terre di Montebudello and Zola Predosa.

 

Production Areas

 In Emilia-Romagna the production of wine is made in the whole regional territory, from the western borders to the eastern side of the Adriatic sea coast. Despite regional enology is focused on the production of wines with autochthonous grapes, here the presence of “international” varieties is pretty high, used both alone, as well as blended with local varieties. The enology of Emilia - the western part of the region - is traditionally associated to the production of sparkling wines, mainly from the many Lambrusco varieties. In the eastern part of the region - Romagna - the production is mainly about dry and sweet wines, both white, mainly produced with Albana, Pignoletto, Trebbiano Romagnolo and Pagadebit (Bombino Bianco) grapes, as well as red, mainly produced with Sangiovese grapes. Among the most common “international” varieties in Emilia-Romagna are mentioned: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Albana di Romagna

 Albana di Romagna was the first Italian white wine to receive the Denominazione d'Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) ranking, reserved for the dry, “amabile” (slightly sweet), sweet and passito styles. The highest ranking achieved by this wine has always been cause of discordant opinions, as there are many detractors of this denomination, because they believe this wine is not worth to belong to the highest ranking of Italian enology. One of the most disputable points in the production disciplinary of Albana di Romagna, is represented by the maximum yield per hectare, currently set to 140 quintals, a value which clearly contrasts wine making quality criteria and that the DOCG ranking should ensure by law. With such a high limit, the quality which can be obtained is pretty disputable, and the best wines produced with this grape are the ones obtained with very low yields, a choice adopted by the best producers only. Of particular interest is the passito (sweet) style, probably the best wines in this denomination.

Lambrusco

 Among the grapes which mainly distinguish the production of Emilia, there is the large family of “lambruschi”. The main representatives of this family are Lambrusco di Sorbara, Lambrusco Grasparossa and Lambrusco Salamino, to which are added Lambrusco Marani, Lambrusco Maestri, Lambrusco Montericco and Lambrusco Viadanese, this latter one common in the province of Mantua, in Lombardy. The Lambrusco grape begins to populate the vineyards of the province of Parma and it becomes the absolute protagonist in the ones of Reggio Emilia and Modena, areas in which Lambrusco has deep ties with the traditions of these places and, last but not the least, to the delicious cooking. The wine produced with Lambrusco is “dry” or “amabile” (slightly sweet), however sparkling, whose effervescence is generally obtained by natural fermentation. Despite Lambrusco is associated to the image of “ordinary” wine, there are many producers who, thanks to quality criteria, can make wines of remarkable interest and that should be properly revaluated. Lambrusco gives its best in the hilly areas near the medieval town of Castelvetro - in the province of Modena - where it is produced the Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro DOC.

Sangiovese di Romagna

 In Romagna, red wine means Sangiovese. There are many who believe Romagna is the land from which Sangiovese has originated. As it is commonly known, the name Sangiovese derives from “Sangue di Giove” (blood of Jupiter), and many believe the definition derives from monte Giove (Jupiter mountain), near Santarcangelo di Romagna, in the province of Rimini, where the grape was clearly cultivated. The results obtained with Sangiovese in the land of Romagna are extremely interesting, however showing organoleptic diversities, from light wines to wines with a good body, with a dry but strong taste. Sangiovese di Romagna was the first wine of the region to achieve the Denominazione d'Origine Controllata (DOC) ranking and it is produced in a pretty vast territory, from the province of Bologna to the eastern coast of the Adriatic sea. Sangiovese di Romagna produced in the best hills of the denomination having an alcohol by volume not lesser than 12%, can make use of the “superiore” indication, whereas in case it was aged for a period not lesser than two years, it can use in the label the “riserva” indication.

Other Production Areas

 Among the other wine production areas of Emilia-Romagna, one of the most interesting ones certainly is Colli Piacentini, in the area in which was found the gutturnium. It is a silver jug which gave the name to the most famous wine of this area, Gutturnio, produced with Barbera and Croatina grapes, here known as Bonarda. Among the other interesting wines of Colli Piacentini is mentioned Vin Santo di Vigoleno, a sweet wine produced in limited quantities with aromatic and non aromatic white berried grapes. Among the other areas, it is mentioned Reggiano, and in particular the Colli di Scandiano e Canossa denomination, where - besides wines made with Lambrusco grapes - are also produced interesting wines with “international” grapes. Going eastward, another interesting denomination is Colli Bolognesi, in which are being produced wines with autochthonous grapes, including Pignoletto, and wines with “international” grapes, in this area pretty common. Of particular interest is the production of IGT wines, in which the autochthonous grapes frequently meet international varieties, most of the times used alone as well.

 




 Editorial  Share this article     Summary of ABC Wine column Wine Tasting 
  ABC Wine Issue 49, February 2007   
Emilia-RomagnaEmilia-Romagna  Contents 
DiWineTaste Polls
What kind of wine do you like having in December?


Result   Other Polls

 Share this poll   
Do you decant an aged wine before serving?


Result   Other Polls

 Share this poll   
What should restaurants improve in wine service?


Result   Other Polls

 Share this poll   



Privacy Policy

Download your free DiWineTaste Card  :  Test your Blood Alcohol Content  :  Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on Twitter

Download DiWineTaste
Copyright © 2002-2019 Antonello Biancalana, DiWineTaste - All rights reserved
All rights reserved under international copyright conventions. No part of this publication and of this WEB site may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from DiWineTaste.