Flashcards in Emilia- Romagna Deck (23):
South of the river Po, fertile and high yielding.
Colli Placentini DOC
Western edge of Emilia- Romagna, similar climatically to Oltrepo Pavese in Lombardy. Similar quality wine produced from Barbera. New plantings of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon are showing real promise.
Sangiovese di Romagna DOC
Correct clonal selection results in a higher quality product.
Trebbiano di Romagna DOC
Refreshing still or sparkling white.
Italian wine region which stretches across north-central Italy from the eastern Adriatic coast to include vast tracts of inland Emilia in the west, which is quite distinct from coastal Romagna in the east. There are four very individual areas, each producing distinct wines: the hills around Piacenza in the north west bordering lombardy; the plain in central Emilia around Parma, Reggio nell’Emilia, and Modena; the hills around Bologna; and the hills in Romagna between Imola and Rimini bordering tuscany to the south east. The Colli Piacentini, geologically and climatically similar to the contiguous oltrepò pavese of Lombardy, is divided in three subregions, Monterosso Val d’Arda, Valnure, and Trebbianino Val Trebbia, which may appear on labels. Many of its frizzante or lightly sparkling whites from malvasia Candia, the rare ortrugo (recently elevated to DOC, without, confusingly any geographical delimitation) and Trebbiano; and reds from barbera and croatina (incorrectly called bonarda here), are made by the tank method (see sparkling winemaking) in industrial volumes. However, the traditional complex, bottle-fermented versions are slowly gaining ground again, notably those from Ermano Croce. The area’s most interesting other developments come from the subzone of Riverargo-Vigolzone, with complex varietal pinot noir and barbera, cabernet blends, and Malvasia di Candia for whites. La Stoppa and Denavolo achieve excellence here, both preferring to label their wines igt rather than DOC. The doc Gutturnio, once a suffix to Colli Piacentini and with a classico subzone as its heart, produces red wine based on Barbera and Croatina, has untapped potential, both for still as well as frizzante versions. The flat Emilia plain is often associated with one wine only: lambrusco. Since the 1970s this light, frothy, and often slightly sweet red has been a huge export success, and industrial-sized production has completely dominated Lambrusco’s image. There are no fewer than four different Lambrusco DOCs, representing distinct styles, which rarely surface in the glass of the industrial versions. The Colli Bolognesi, the hills immediately south west of Bologna, are dominated by international varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay. The good results achieved here can be traced back to the pioneering estate Terre Rosse, whose founder Enrico Vallania planted these varieties in the 1960s, aiming at making long-lived wine without any use of oak. The local white Pignoletto, producing fresh, lively and often lightly sparkling whites, has been elevated to docg, but few producers aim for quality, as most Pignoletto ends up in the tanks of large bottlers and huge co-operatives, an exception being Alberto Tedeschi. The Romagna Hills, covered by the enormous doc Romagna, are home to both some of the best and worst of the region’s output. Total production is dominated by co-ops turning out industrial quantities of insipid sangiovese and trebbiano. The image of romagna sangiovese has suffered particularly from this indifference, much to the frustration of a group of quality-focused producers (see sangiovese di romagna for more details). The oft-scorned Romagna albana (see docg), grown in the same extensive area as Romagna Sangiovese and elevated to DOGC in 1986 to considerable scepticism, is beginning to prove its worth with fine passito and botrytized versions as well as some serious barrel-fermented dry wines, often from single vineyards.
Diverse doc zone centred on the hills of Piacenza in Emilia in north-central Italy.
At least six distinct varieties grown in Italy are known principally as Trebbiano, including Trebbiano Toscano, whose national total of 22,702 ha/56,098 acres in 2010 made it one of the most planted white wine grapes in Italy. Next most planted, largely in Emilia-Romagna, on 15,893 ha was the remarkably similar Trebbiano Romagnolo. Trebbiano Giallo is found on 10,663 ha, particularly in Lazio, and Trebbiano Spoletino is an Umbrian speciality grown on 200 ha. Trebbiano Modenese is grown on 363 ha and is associated with production of the local vinegar while Trebbiano d’Abruzzo (also known as Trebbiano Abruzzese) is quite unrelated to any other Trebbiano. Meanwhile, many an Italian synonym incorporates the word Trebbiano, most notably Trebbiano di Soave, Trebbiano di Lugana, and Trebbiano Valtenesi, which are all the Marche grape verdicchio. There are almost as many possible histories of Trebbiano as there are different varieties called Trebbiano (the index of Wine Grapes has no fewer than 28 entries for grape names beginning with Trebbiano). The Bolognese agronomist petrus de crescentiis certainly described a vine called Tribiano as early as 1303, but which? Today, Trebbiano is planted all over Italy (with the exception of the cool far north), to the extent that it is likely that the great majority of basic vino bianco will contain at least some of the variety, if only to add acidity and volume. The stronghold of Trebbiano Toscano, shown by dna profiling to have a parent-offspring relationship with the garganega of Soave, is central Italy. It is known as ugni blanc and St-Émilion in France, Tália in Portugal, and is widely planted around the world. Any grape called simply Trebbiano is likely to be Trebbiano Toscano. See under its most common French name ugni blanc for details of Trebbiano in France. This gold-, even amber-berried grape variety is so productive, and so much planted in both France and Italy, the world’s two major wine-producing countries, that it may well still produce more wine than any other vine variety in the world—even though the total area it was planted on appears to have slipped from fifth to ninth place between 1990 and 2010. It is cited in more doc regulations than any other single variety (about 80) and may well account for more than a third of Italy’s entire DOC white wine production. Trebbiano Toscano the wine is typically light, crisp, and wet. Some idea of Trebbiano Toscano’s ubiquity is given by listing just some of the wines in which it is an ingredient: verdicchio, orvieto, frascati, together with soave (Trebbiano Toscano was planted in place of Trebbiano di Soave in the 1960s and 1970s when yield was a more important consideration than quality but has now been outlawed). The variety has after all had many centuries to adapt itself to local conditions. Between Tuscany and Rome, in umbria, the variety can be known as Procanico, which some agronomists believe is a superior, smaller-berried Trebbiano. Only the fiercely varietal-conscious north eastern corner of Italy is virtually free of this bland ballast. Trebbiano’s malign influence was most noticeable in central tuscany in much of the 20th century, however, where Trebbiano was so well entrenched that chianti and therefore vino nobile di montepulciano laws sanctioned its inclusion in this red wine, thereby diluting its quality as well as its colour and damaging its reputation. Trebbiano is now very much an optional ingredient, however, increasingly spurned by quality-conscious producers. Once Trebbiano fell out of favour with Chianti producers, an attempt was made to transform it into innocuous dry whites such as galestro. Fortunately, the market for these wines has dwindled, and in the 2000s much Trebbiano in Tuscany was grubbed up, or used in vin santo. Trebbiano Toscano has also managed to infiltrate Portugal’s fiercely nationalistic vineyards, as Tália or Thalia, and is widely planted in bulgaria and in parts of Croatia, and greece. As well as being used for mexico’s important brandy production, Trebbiano is well entrenched in the southern hemisphere, where its high yields and high acidity are valued. There were still nearly 2,000 ha of ‘Ugni Blanc’ in Argentina in 2012 as well as plantings in Brazil and Uruguay. South Africa also calls its relatively limited plantings Ugni Blanc but relies more on colombard for brandy production and cheap, tart blending material, as does California, whose 200 remaining acres of the vine called ‘St-Emilion’ there are exclusively in the Central Valley, although interesting varietal versions called Trebbiano are not entirely unknown. Australia, where Colombard is also more important, has about 200 ha of Trebbiano, planted mainly in the irrigated areas, where it provides a usefully tart ingredient in basic blended whites and is also sometimes used by distillers. The influence of Trebbiano/Ugni Blanc will surely continue to decline as wine drinkers seek flavour with increasing determination.
and its almost amber-berried clone Trebbiano della Fiamma, dominates white wine production in emilia-romagna and results in generally remarkably undistinguished dry whites. The variety is cultivated across a wide swathe of romagna in the provinces of Bologna, Forlì, and Ravenna, and only about a fifth is registered for the production of DOC wines. It is permitted on its own or as a blending component in no fewer than 12 of Emilia-Romagna’s total of 21 denominations. Permitted yields of almost 100 hl/ha (5.7 tons/acre) do little to assist a grape not known for its striking personality, and most Trebbiano di Romagna is, at best, suitable for a picnic.
What is Emilia Romagna known for?
Known for being the ‘stomach’ of Italy (Parma ham, vinegar & rich foods)
Emilia Romagna: Climate and Weather
Lowlands (Piacenza to Ravenna – south of river Po): damp weather with lots of fog
Mountains & hills (at the Apennine foothills): good air circulation so climate less humid
Emilia Romagna: Typography and Soil
Lowlands (Piacenza to Ravenna): plains with alluvial fertile soils
Mountains & hills (at the Apennine foothills): more barren soils of residual pebbles and red loam; up to 350m hi
Emilia Romagna: Sangiovese di Romagna
Reputation for lower quality but better clones as good as Sangiovese di Toscana
Best comes from the Apennines foothills
Emilia Romagna: Other Red Wine Grapes
Cabernet, Bonarda, Barbera
Emilia Romagna: Trebbiano di Romagna
Similar to Trebbiano di Toscano i.e. hi productivity & little flavour
Used in light, soft dry whites in variety of styles
Emilia Romagna: Albana
3rd most important grape in Emilia-Romagna
Best in red clay hills east of Forli & Bertinoro
Dry wines are characterless. Dessert wines are more interesting
Emilia Romagna: Other White Wine Grapes
Malvasia, Pignoletto, Chardonnay
Emilia Romagna: Viticulture and Winemaking
61,000ha for 6.8m hl production - #4 largest producing region in Italy
Very high yields permitted and hence produced including for DOC & DOCG
Emilia Romagna: Colli Piacentini
Western edge of the region; similar climate to Oltrepo Pavese in Lombardy
Good quality wine made from Barbera. New plantings of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Cab Sauv.
Some producers like La Stoppa & La Tosa drive quality upwards.
Emilia Romagna: Sangiovese di Romagna DOC (R)
South-east corner of Romagna between Bologna & Rimini; sandstone & clay soils & hi summer temperature
Best examples around Forli e.g. Umberto Cesar’s Cabernet-Sangiovese ‘Liana’
What is the white DOC of Emilia Romagna based on Trebbiano?
Trebbiano di Romagna
Emilia Romagna: Albana di Romagna DOCG (W)
First white DOCG in Italy (1986); covers similar but slightly smaller area as Sangiovese di Romagna
4 different styles: Sacco, amabile, dolce & passito. Hi yields rule defeats the purpose of DOCG
Emilia Romagna: Production
6.8m hl/yr production - #4 largest wine region in Italy but only 15% of DOC & most of it is Lambrusco
Strong cooperative influence w the largest cooperative controlling 27,000ha (>Germany’s vineyard area)