What do you know about the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy? Where is it located? Are there any foods or wines that are special in this area? This is what I came to learn about the Emilia-Romagna Native Grapes masterclass at the Vancouver International Wine Festival.
I did see a list of the wines ahead of time and I did recognize some, but other wines were new to me. And new grapes. We had two speakers for this event; Daniella Facciani from Romagna and Ermes Scardova from Emilia. Plus our MC was Jenna Brisco from Cafe Medina here in Vancouver. Jenna is an educator in Vancouver with the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts and she is a VinItaly International Italian Wine Ambassador.
Where is Emilia-Romagna?
This is actually two regions Emilia and Romagna, each with their own distinct food, wine and culture, but are together in a defined administrative area in Italy. Emilia-Romagna is located northeast of Tuscany and south of Lombardy and Veneto. I coloured it in blue in the map below of the administrative regions. Within this region are the famous cities of Bologna, Modena, Parma, and Rimini (and many more). We learned from our speakers that Emilia, on the western side of the region is a more industrious, serious region, while the Romagna region which has a portion of the Italian coast has a warmer, more southern Italian climate and is known for more fun, outgoing people. If you want nightlife go to Rimini on the coast in Romagna.
Famous Foods from Emilia-Romagna
You will probably recognize these Italian foods, but not that they come from Emilia-Romagna:
- Balsamic vinegar (Aceto Balsamico DOP is a quality traditional balsamic vinegar that takes at least 12 years to produce)
- Parmigiano Reggiano DOP
- Prosciutto di Parma DOP
- Tortellini and Gnocchi pasta
Our course food and wine that come from one part of the world generally pair together very well, which leads me to the wines we tasted at this masterclass.
Our Featured Wines
- Trere Albana Secca Romagna DOCG “Arlùs” 2018
- Poderi dal Nespoli Pagadebit 2017
- Monte Delle Vigne Callas 2015
- Medici Ermete Quercioli Lambrusco Sorbara NV
- Monte Delle Vigne Lambrusco Selezione 2018
- Poderi dal Nespoli Nespolino Romagna 2018
- Umberto Cesari Rubicone Sangiovese Tauleto 2013
- Umberto Cesari Rubicone Sangiovese Cabernet Sauvignon Liano 2016
- Trere Sangiovese Superiore Riserva DOC “Amarcord D’un Ross” 2016
- Chiara Condello Le Lucciole 2015
You may recognize the grapes Lambrusco, Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon, but there were several other indigienous grapes that I had not heard of before: Albana, Bombino Bianco, Malvasia di Candia Aromatica, and Uva Longanesi. Let me tell you about these these grapes and their associated wines.
Our first wine to taste was the Trere Albana Secca Romagna DOCG “Arlùs” 2018, a white wine made from the Albana grape. The Albana grape “…is versatile and the wine can be produced in a range of styles: sparkling (as a DOC only), secco (dry), the medium-sweet amabile and the sweet dolce and passito. The wine is light, nutty, creamy and in the dry form has a crisp acidity and may have a slight bitter-almond finish. The high acidity means that it can be produced with a degree of residual sugar, and in this form, particularly as a passito or riserva passito, it can age well…” (wine-searcher.com). The grapes for this wine are late harvested and can have noble rot. This wine had a medium intensity bright lemon colour. Deeper honey and lemon aromas. It is dry, medium-bodied, with some roundness and silkiness, but still has a higher level of acidity. Flavours of citrus, pears, honey, and floral (camomile in particular). It has a tart, dry, semi-tannic finish. We were told that this wine would pair nicely with ceviche.
Next was the Poderi dal Nespoli Pagadebit 2017 made with 85% Bombino Bianco and 15% Sauvignon Blanc. Bombino Bianco “…The grape is known under many synonyms throughout Italy including Debit and Pagadebit, names which came from the grape’s reputation for being a high yielding and reliable crop for vineyard owners to grow that would assure them that on each vintage they could pay off their debts….” (Bombino Bianco – Wikipedia). This wine was a favourite of everyone I spoke with. It has a light lemon-green colour. It is very aromatic showing green beans, jalapeno pepper, honey and green fruit aromas. These aromas carry to the palate. The wine medium-bodied, soft and round with medium acidity and a thicker mouthfeel. We were told that this wine would pair well with sushi and fried fish dishes. –
Our third wine was the Monte Delle Vigne Callas 2015 made with the Malvasia di Candia Aromatica grape. Malvasia di Candia Aromatica “…originated in Ancient Greece. It is a wine with a straw-yellow colour, a characteristic and intense aroma, a dry or semi-dry or sweet taste; it is well-orchestrated and fresh, still or lively..” (flavourofitaly.com). If you like Gewurztraminer this would be an easy wine to enjoy. It has a light straw colour. Herbal, lemon, honey, and jalapeno pepper nose, along with some petrol. These aromas continue to the palate, but you as well get a peach flavour. This wine is semi-round with higher acidity. I also picked up some bruised crab apple flavours on the mid-palate. Very flavourful. –
Moving on, our next two wines were made with the Lambrusco grape. There are 6 different varieties of the Lambrusco grape. The first wine, Medici Ermete Quercioli Lambrusco Sorbara NV, is made with the Lambrusco Sorbara grape. Lambrusco di Sorbara is the most widely planted variety and is the most fragrant and lightest in colour and body. It is a pale pink to bright red in colour, and never opaque. It provides fragrant floral aromas of violets, along with favours of red currants, cranberries and strawberries. This wine was bright, clear medium intensity orange in colour. It has a light red fruit and candied cherry nose. It is full-bodied, off-dry with acidic prickle on your tongue. Red fruit and cranberry flavours to start then add in red cherries. This wine paired nicely with the Parmigiano Reggiano DOP we sampled at the seminar. We were told that this wine would work well with charcuterie, cheese, pizza, and spicy foods. Give it a try.
Our second Lambrusco-based wine was the Monte Delle Vigne Lambrusco Selezione 2018 made with the Lambrusco Maestri grape. It makes the most deeply coloured wine with an intense purple hue. It is the fruitiest, creamiest and most immediately appealing wine with flavours of dark plum, ripe black cherries, milk chocolate and violets. It blends well with the Salamino and Sorbara varieties. This wine was a deep ruby colour and coated the glass when I swirled it. It has a cidery, purple fruit, and blueberry aromas. It has a medium body with high acidity and very tiny fine creamy bubbles that dance on your tongue. Lighter tannins with a hint of oak. Off-dry with ripe purple fruit flavours.
The last four wines were all made in part with the Sangiovese grape variety. Many people only know this grape for Tuscany and Chianti (Classico) wines, but it is also in Emilia-Romagna. Poderi dal Nespoli Nespolino Romagna 2018 is a blend of 70% Sangiovese and 30% Merlot. Nespoli is a village next to Tuscany. This wine was deep, about 80% opaque, dull garnet in colour. It has lots of Old World oak/cedar aroma, along with toast, dark fruits and a hint of capsicum. This wine has a medium-plus body, is dry and fruity with a silky mouthfeel. It has nutmeg, cedar, vanilla, milk chocolate, dark cherries and plums, followed by silk spices. It has light soft tannins. This wine is an easy sipper at a great price point and would do very well on many restaurant wine lists. –
Umberto Cesari Rubicone Sangiovese Tauleto 2013 is made with 90% Sangiovese Grosso and 10% Uva Longanesi. Uva Longanesi is in the blend to provide colour to the wine. It has only 200 ha planted in the world. “…A single “mother” vine was discovered by Antonio Longanesi, after whom the variety is named, near his home in Bagnacavallo, Ravenna. Longanesi took cuttings from the vine (which was growing naturally, wrapped around the trunk of an old oak tree) and, in the 1950s, his son Aldo planted the world’s first Uva Longanesi vineyard…Uva Longanesi is relatively hardy in the vineyard, resistant to both fungal diseases and frost. Once vinified, it shows off red fruit like cherry and strawberry, with some vanilla and even licorice overtones. Wines made from Uva Longanesi have plenty of tannins…” (wine-searcher.com). This wine was about 90% opaque garnet coloured. It had a nut freshly cut cedar aroma. It is medium to full-bodied, dry with a semi-round mouthfeel. Medium-plus acidity. Flavours of ripe red fruits, nutmeg and cedar. It does have a tart puckering finish and drying tannins, along with some pepperiness. I think this wine needs 1-2 years of bottle ageing to soften the tannic finish.
Umberto Cesari Rubicone Sangiovese Cabernet Sauvignon Liano 2016 is made with 70% Sangiovese Grosso and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine has also very deeply garnet coloured. It has a light intensity dark fruit nose with a hint of nutmeg. It is off-dry with a medium-plus body. It is soft and fruity with lower acidity and softer tannins. The wine has ripe black fruit flavours and sweet spices, with a touch of capsicum and cedar. It has some drying tannins on the finish but they are not very firm. You get sweet fruits and cedar flavours on the finish. –
Trere Sangiovese Superiore Riserva DOC “Amarcord D’un Ross” 2016 is made with 85% Sangiovese and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is about 80% dull opaque garnet coloured. It currently has a closed nose with some dark fruit aromas. It is soft and dry with a medium-plus body. No distinct fruit flavours. Light tannins and acidity. Maybe this wine is in a “dumb” state at the moment and bottle ageing will bring back the aromas and flavours. –
Chiara Condello Le Lucciole 2015 was our last wine and it is made with 100% Sangiovese from a single vineyard less than 1 ha in area. I was told that 2015 was a very good vintage for wines in Italy so stock up. This wine was a medium translucent garnet colour with obvious bricking. Tart red cherries, leather, and cedar on the nose. It is dry and soft with a lighter body, less acidity and soft, fine-grained tannins. The wine has light intensity flavours of red fruit and leather. The tannins get a bit stronger on the finish. An elegant wine.
Thank you to Enoteca Regionale Emilia Romagna and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada West for supporting this masterclass.