Emilia-Romagna is known as the stomach of Italy. Why? Because so many famous foods are from the region including Proscuitto di Parma, Parmigiano Reggiano, and Grana Padano. I had the opportunity to attend a seminar on the wines of Emilia-Romagna, presented by Giammario Villa, as part of the Gambero Rosso event. His company, Vinomatica, consists of a team of wine educators, master tasters, communication and marketing experts with the goal of communicating the business and culture of the wine industry worldwide through wine publishing, wine education, wine scouting, and wine marketing.
As of late, there has been a dramatic improvement in wine quality coming out of Emilia-Romagna. It is a common theme, as the wines of Sicily, Puglia, and other Italian regions are also increasing in quality. This is partly due to the modernization of wine production facilities throughout Italy and the increased popularity in international styles of wine, which forces winemakers to stay on their toes and produce wines that can compete in the global marketplace. Most of the production coming out of Emilia-Romagna is Lambrusco (a sparkling red), but there is also a full range of still wines being produced.
As far as the production side, wine cooperatives (or co-ops) are very important in Emilia-Romagna. A co-op is a facility with shared winemaking equipment. Cost savings is the main benefit, as winemaking facilities are quite expensive!
Overall, exceptional values can be found in Emilia Romagna. As I frequently say, I encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone and try new things. The wines of Emilia-Romagna are a perfect way to do that!
Below are some interesting wines from Emilia-Romagna. The first line is always the producer name or the co-op name with a link to their website. The second line includes details of the wine, such as: name of the wine, grape, sub-region, vintage, etc. Here I also included a link to each wine on Wine-Searcher so that you can see where to find these wines on store shelves. Many of them are not readily available, but depending on what state you live in, shipping could be an option. And if none of these wines are available in your area, don’t fret! You’ve learned something new about a wine region in Italy you would otherwise not be familiar with. Just remember the name of the region (Emilia-Romagna) and next time you are in a wine shop or at a restaurant, ask if they have any wines from that area. And if they do not, perhaps they can steer you in the direction of wines that might be similar. With wine it is DEFINITELY about the journey and not just the destination. Be open-minded, try new things, and your favorite bottle of wine might be just around the corner!
Yowzas, this is #funAF as the kids say! In case you weren’t sure, Famoso is the name of the (white) grape. Floral notes abound. In fact, this wine smells like a field of flowers. I also get citrus (orange), stone fruit (peach), tropical fruit (pineapple), white flowers and a honeyed nose. This wine is easy to drink, but has character; a backbone. This wine was one of my favorites tasted.
Albana, a white grape, is the considered the queen of Emilia-Romagna. On the nose I get, a medium aromatic intensity with delicate citrus notes of lemon and tangelo. Medium + acid plus major citrus (lemon) on the palate.
Our first sparkling! A very pretty wine with a medium pink, almost salmon, color. Clean, juicy, bright red fruit (strawberry and cranberry). Very effervescent, good acid. The same red fruit notes on the palate. Fully dry.
This wine is that classic Lambrusco color of deep purple. On the nose, I get deep red/black fruit plus some floral/violet notes. On the palate, semi-dry, but the acid balances it out. This wine has 18g/L of RS (residual sugar).
The grapes for this wine are all organic and biodynamically farmed on ocean-facing vines. On the nose I get sour cherry, cranberry, violets, cedar, and light spice box. The palate shows medium tannins and the same fruit notes. All structural elements are well-integrated. Overall a solid red.
Another one of my favorites here. Very deep red fruit on both the nose and the palate. Soft tannins plus delicate violet notes.
The beginning stages of bricking are beginning to show on the color. Soft, delicate red fruit. This reminds me of a delicate Old World Pinot.
Deep red plus black fruit, moving into brambly territory. Plus vanilla and a faint cedar note. On the palate: black currant, black pepper/spice, vanilla, and drying tannins. This is a deep, brooding wine, but it can stand on its own. Food is not necessary.
The vines here were planted in 1922, hence the name. Dark fruit (both red and black) plus notes of vanilla and toast.