(Re)Discover the wines of Emilia Romagna

lambrusco winery tour in Modena

by Marcelo Pinto  July 8th 2012

 

Emilia-Romagna is a lush, scenic wine region of Northern Italy, renowned for its unique and flavorful wines. The area includes both Emilia, to the west, and Romagna, to the east. Bologna serves as the capital and the dividing line. Emilia-Romagna is currently the 8th highest producer of wines in Italy. The wines from this region stand out from the crowd, particularly the sparkling varieties. Lambrusco is the most popular wine of the region, often paired with Emilia-Romagna’s rich and savory pork-based dishes. The delicate yet flavorful wine complements the richness of local cuisine.

 

In addition to Lambrusco, Emilia-Romagna offers up a dazzling variety of wines. For instance, Sangiovese is a traditional red wine that is often used by Tuscan wineries to make Chianti. The winemakers of Emilia-Romagna pride themselves on offering internationally recognized wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Merlot. However, the vineyards of Emilia-Romagna produce distinctive and flavorful grapes that are unique to the area. Local winemakers focus on using these native grapes to create the wines that make Emilia-Romagna the distinctive wine region it is today.

 

Lambrusco

 

Lambrusco is the undisputed king of Emilia-Romagna wines. Made from autochthon grapes, the wine is no newcomer to the scene. Rather, it has a long and prestigious history, extending back to Roman times. During the 1970s, a whole new population discovered the effervescent charms of Lambrusco. The sweeter varieties of the wine became popular in the United States. However, high grape yields and great demand led to poor overall quality, meaning that Lambrusco developed a brief reputation for being a cheap wine.

 

Fortunately, that reputation is now outdated. For the past decade, Lambrusco has enjoyed a resurge in popularity, returning the wine to its proud Roman roots. Wine producers are taking care to produce Lambrusco that has a rich yet approachable flavor, pairing well with nearly every meal. Lambrusco is a frothy wine that always has a rich, gem-like violet color. Lambruscos are available in sweet, medium and dry versions, offering something for different palates and meals. Lambrusco wines often tend to have a slightly lower alcohol content than many others. This means that diners can enjoy a leisurely Italian feast with a delicious, high quality Lambrusco as their constant companion. Locals in Emilia-Romagna reach for Lambruscos more frequently than any other wine, thanks to its refreshing versatility.

 

Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro is a particularly popular variety, served alongside most meals in Emilia-Romagna. This variety hails from Modena, an ancient and beautiful city located in the Emilia-Romagna region. Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro is one of the most highly rated varieties of Lambrusco. During autumn, the leaves and stalks of the grape vine take on a rich red hue. The delicious Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro wine is usually produced in small, select Modena wineries. The resulting autumnal wine is a deep ruby shade, highlighted by a violet sheen. The fruity, fragrant taste appeals to veteran wine lovers and casual diners alike. Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro is a wine that truly captures the joy and love of good food that characterizes Emilia-Romagna.

 

Sangiovese di Romagna

 

This hearty and traditional red wine hails primarily from the Romagna area of Emilia-Romagna. The full-bodied wine complements hard cheeses and meats, making it an excellent choice for wine tasting parties and other occasions that call for lighter fare. According to local legends, friars near Mount Giove were the first growers of this particular variety. Sangiovese de Romagna has a fine history dating back to Roman times, and the varieties can range from light and fruity to more hearty and tannic wines.

 

Colli di Parma

 

The Parma area between Emilia and Tuscany is a beautiful one, and the grapes grown here are cultivated into full-bodied Colli di Parma wines. The red wines run the gamut from spumante to frizzante, complementing local cured meats such as prosciutto di Parma and Culatello. Sparkling Colli di Parma wines are refreshing, yet capture the robust spirit of the area.

 

Malvasia dei colli di Parma

 

This flavorful and aromatic white wine is a good substitute to the many red wines offered in the Emilia-Romagna region. Discerning wine tasters and diners can select from three different varieties, including dry, medium and sweet. Malvasia dei colli di Parma wines are made from a blend of Moscoto and Malvasia wines. The sweet variety is often paired with desserts.

 

Barbera

 

Barbera is another popular autochthon grape from the Parma area. Barbera wine often becomes a base for blends of sparkling and still wines. The wine has a distinctive ruby color.

 

Albana di Romagna

 

This prestigious and high quality wine is made from grapes that have been cultivated in the region for many centuries. Albana di Romagna wines offer a smooth, crisp flavor with captivating hints of nuttiness. This wine hails from the area between Bologna and Rimini. The wine is typically produced in amabile, secco and passito varieties, as well as spumante versions.

 

Gutturnio

 

Gutturnio wines come from Parma and Piacenza provinces and are usually paired with culatello, Parma ham or coppa di piacenza. There are both sparkling and still varieties, both of which are typically drunk young.

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