Italian Wine Regions - Quattrocalici
Table of Contents for the Emilia-Romagna Region
The Emilia-Romagna Wine Region
Main Article Contents
- 1 Territory and wine of Emilia-Romagna
- 2 The history of the vine in Emilia-Romagna
- 3 The Viticulture in Emilia-Romagna
- 4 The wine production areas in Emilia-Romagna
- 5 The grapes and wine appellations in Emilia
- 6 The grapes and wine appellations in Romagna
- 7 The food and agricultural appellations in Emilia-Romagna
- 8 The regionale cuisine in Emilia-Romagna
Territory and wine of Emilia-Romagna
Emilia-Romagna is one of the largest wine regions in Italy, with about 60,000 hectares of vineyards. The surface of the region is approximately 50% flat, 25% hilly and 25% mountainous (with over 2000 meters above sea level in the Tuscan-Emilian Appennino). So the distribution of the vineyards is roughly 75% in the plains, 20% in hilly areas and 5% in the mountains (between 400 and 600 meters above sea level). The climatic characteristics of the territory delineate several wine regions, from west to east towards the warmer areas along the coast. The region is divided into two geographic and cultural areas: The Emilia, on the west and the Romagna, on the east. These two areas are distinguished for both the varied cuisine, the grapes varieties and the wines made from them. Emilia is the undisputed home of “Lambrusco“, red sparkling wines, while in Romagna the wine is predominantly still and produced from the grapes Sangiovese, Albana, Pignoletto and others.
The history of the vine in Emilia-Romagna
The history of grape and wine in Emilia-Romagna dates back to pre-Roman times and it is linked to its most famous grapevariety, the Lambrusco, already mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia, where he describes its medical properties and characteristics. It seems that its name comes from Vitis Labrusca, ancient species of wild vine grape of which there is no certain information about its use for the wine production. The archaeological discoveries carried out in these areas made it possible to establish with certainty that in the seventh century BC the inhabitants of these lands practiced viticulture. The introduction from Dalmatia variety of Refosco Terrano, known in Emilia-Romagna as Cagnina, dates back to the fifth century AD. The order of Benedictines later gave great contributions to viticulture in the region, especially in the Ferrara province, where they ruled the viticulture of Bosco Eliceo. Even later reference is made to grape varieties in the area of Emilia-Romagna, particularly to Lambruschi. In the late 1800s the arrival of phylloxera determined a still standing of viticulture. In the Po delta, near the present territory of the Bosco Eliceo DOC the vineyards of Fortana grapes were spared by the parasite so that even today, many vines are grafted on frank foot. The cooperatives of producers in the first half of the ‘900 create a great development in terms of quantity for Lambrusco wines. The distribution of this wine made it worldwide famous but generated also the belief that with this grape only ordinary wines can be made, something now denied by so many great quality examples in the area. In recent years the vine growing in Emilia-Romagna has followed two parallel paths: the revaluation of the regional indigenous grape varieties and the introduction of so-called international varieties often used together with the local varieties.
The Viticulture in Emilia-Romagna
The 60,000 hectares of vineyards in Emilia-Romagna produces over 6 million hectoliters of wine. The yield per hectare is the highest in Italy, mainly due to the extension of flat areas. However in hilly areas the approach was different, more focused on quality than quantity. Following the path of the various denominations of origin we can spot examples of absolute excellence in winemaking, both in Emilia and in Romagna. Throughout the region traditional training systems for the vine such as Belussi, Alberata Emiliana, Pergola, Double Upside Down, cordon broke and simple Cortina are still to be found as well as the more recent ones as the spurred cordon, the GDC and Guyot .
The wine production areas in Emilia-Romagna
In Emilia, the western part of the region, sparkling wines from different varieties of Lambrusco are particularly important. In the eastern region, the Romagna, the production is mainly focused on both dry and sweet wines, the whites from the grapes Albana, Pignoletto, Trebbiano Romagnolo and Pagadebit (Bombino Bianco), the reds, mainly from grapes Sangiovese. The most common internaltional varieties in Emilia-Romagna are the Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Albana di Romagna
The Albana di Romagna was the first wine Italian white wine to receive the recognition of the Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin (DOCG). The recognition of the highest level of quality is above all due to the much lower yields than those stated by the regulations,operated by the best producers. The passito Albana wine stands out as one of the best in the country.
The most important grape varieties in this family are the Lambrusco di Sorbara, Lambrusco Grasparossa and Lambrusco Salamino, followed by Lambrusco Marani and Lambrusco Maestri. Lambrusco vineyards are spread across the province of Parma and becomes the almost absolute protagonist in those of Reggio Emilia and Modena. The sparkling wines made from it, dry or sweet, mix well with the recipes of Emilian cuisine, especially with the typical salami. Important is the Lambrusco Grasparossa Castelvetro DOC, produced in the hilly area near the medieval village of Castelvetro, in the province of Modena .
Sangiovese di Romagna
Romagna is famous for its wine red wine produced with grapes from the vine Sangiovese. The name means Jupiter’s blood and it is believed it comes from Mount Giove (jupiter), near Santarcangelo di Romagna, in the province of Rimini. The Sangiovese di Romagna can be a light wine but also a one with good structure and a dry and firm taste. The Sangiovese di Romagna was the first wine red in the region to get the Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) and is produced in a large quantities, from the province of Bologna to the east coast of the Adriatic Sea.
The other production areas
In the Colli Piacentini area in the area was found the Gutturnium, an ancient silver pitcher that gave its name to the most famous wine of this area, the Gutturnio, produced from grapes Barbera and Croatina here known as Bonarda. Also interesting is the Vin Santo di Vigoleno, produced in limited quantities by aromatic and not aromatic white grapes. In Reggiano, particularly in the area of the Colli di Scandiano e Canossa DOC, not Lambrusco but also interesting wines from international grapes are produced. In the area of Colli Bolognesi, Pignoletto and wines from international grapes are fairly widespread. Of particular interest is the production of IGT (PGI) varietal wines, both from native and international grape varieties.
The grapes and wine appellations in Emilia
In Emilia, in the Piacenza area, the most popular varieties are the black ones, the Barbera and Croatina and partly the Bonarda, characterizing the Gutturnio DOC. The white grapes are the Malvasia di Candia Aromatica and Moscato Bianco, in addition to the native grape Ortrugo. Also international varieties such as Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris, Riesling Italico and Müller-Thurgau are quite common. The area of Parma is distinguished by the prevalence of white wine production, but with no differences in terms of cultivated varieties. The areas of Reggio-Emilia and Modena are characterized by the cultivation of Lambrusco, in the varieties Lambrusco Salamino , Lambrusco Maestri, Lambrusco Marani, Lambrusco Montericco and Ancellotta. The Lambrusco di Sorbara and Lambrusco Grasparossa are the most common in the Modena area. Around Bologna, Montù and Pignoletto, both white grapes of the appellations Reno DOC and Colli Bolognesi Classico Pignoletto DOCG. In the Ferrara area the black berry variety Fortana (also known as Uva d’Oro) whose reference is the Bosco Eliceo DOC.
The grapes and wine appellations in Romagna
In Romagna the most important vine in terms of quantity are the Sangiovese and the Trebbiano Romagnolo (the most common white berry grape variety in Romagna), followed by the Pagadebit and Albana, after which the Romagna Albana DOCG is named, in the area of Faenza. The major wine producing areas are the hills around Faenza, the hills area of Forlì, the hills around Cesena and Rimini .
The food and agricultural appellations in Emilia-Romagna
Emilia Romagna is also one of the most important Italian agricultural production areas, as stated by the 13 DOP (PDO) and 12 IGP (PGI) regional appellations, besides the 2 DOCG the DOC 21 and 9 IGT already mentioned anf related to wines. The first to stand out is the Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena DOP and the Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Amilia DOP, the Prosciutto di Parma DOP and Culatello DOP.
The regionale cuisine in Emilia-Romagna
Fundamental in Emilia cuisine are the pasta courses. Noodles with Bolognese sauce, made with meat or diced ham fried in butter and tomatoes. The green noodles whose color comes from chard or spinach, or nettle. The lasagna, with alternating layers of bechamel and Bolognese sauce and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. The tortellini are traditionally served in meat broth, but also with cream sauce. The tortelli or tortelloni di magro, also named cappelletti di magro in Romagna, are characterized by the large size and by the filling of ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, and parsley. The tortelloni have a filling made of sausage or ham with other ingredients as meat cooked, eggs, Parmesan cheese and nutmeg; the pumpkin ravioli (called pumpkin cappellacci in Ferrara). The Erbazzone Reggiano is a kind of pie with spinach and vegetables , all mixed with Parmesan cheese and baked in the oven.
The local cuisine is characterized by genuine things: Strozzapreti, sausages, passatelli, beef chops, mutton are among the best-known dishes. The coast, the countryside and woods areas all of them have unique and very tasty dishes. The local cuisine has its ultimate expression in soups, especially those with broth. The pasta sheets are home made, with wheat flour and eggs, often accompanied by veal meat sauce or wild boar sausage. They are also excellent minestrone and pasta with beans soups. Along the coast prevails seafood cuisine, from fish or shellfish, fried or seasoned with spices and herbs. The broth from Romagna has the characteristic of vinegar, tomato paste and black pepper aromas. On the Apennino Romagnolo mountains the tagliatelle with truffles from Dovadola or with porcini mushrooms or even with “strigoli” (herbs). Among the main courses, the lamb chops, the mutton and boiled poultry, and among the vegetables stand out the asparagus, arugula, and nettles. The cheeses are also well represented with the squacquerone, the Fossa cheese from Sogliano and the pecorino. The famous piadina is made from a dough of flour, lard and water: it is used to prepare wraps, stuffed with ham, cheese and wild herbs.