Emilia-Romagna is located in central-northern Italy. Considered by many as the food capital of Italy, the region is rich in history, tradition and unforgettable landscapes. You will be amazed by the mixture of colours, art and flavours in both food and wine. A not to miss event is the International Street Food Festival in Cesena.
Emilia-Romagna lies between the river Po to the north and the Apennine mountains to the south, which separate the region from Liguria, Tuscany and Marche. The Adriatic Sea mitigates the hot summer temperatures in the coastal area. The contrast between the sea and mountains creates a climatic diversity which ensures the production of many styles of wine.
Viticulture dates back to pre-Roman times
The viticulture practices in Emilia-Romagna date back to pre-Roman times, information linked to the Lambrusco variety. This wild grape was broached by the Naturalist Plinius in his work “Naturalis Historia”, where he furth expands with what he called the “medical” properties of the grape.
In that period Emilia-Romagna’s wine industry was focused on producing wine for religious ceremonies, white wine for the use of sparkling and vermouth. Then at the end of the 1800s, the arrival of phylloxera marked a stagnation in the industry. Until the present where Emilia-Romagna is following two trends: the revival of native grapes and the use of 'international' varieties, in blends together with local varieties.
Beyond the beautiful landscape you find quality wines
The region is one of the flattest in Italy, with beautiful and fertile vineyards rewarding the wine lover, thanks to the skilled extraction of excellent fruit-forward wines from the winemakers. The area of Emilia-Romagna is divided between low hills and long plains. Near the Apennine, the harsh winters and hot summers contribute useful diurnal temperature variations. All these influences, combined with the cool breezes coming from the hills and sea, favour the phenolic ripening of the grapes.
In the Po Valley the earth is predominately overflowing with alluvial, low levels of limestone, and rich clay and silt soils where the creation of fresh wines is more than viable. In the Apennine area the soils are clay-based and silt based with some limestone, which is ideal for the production of age-worthy wines. Did you know that In the Ferrara coastal area, the soils are sandier so mostly infertile and yet here we can still find 'ungrafted' vineyards?
Discover the viticultural heritage of Emilia-Romagna
Lambrusco, a sparkling red wine, and the white Trebbiano are key players in the northern part of the region, while in the southern part Albana and Sangiovese prevail. Another common black variety is the Ancelotta or Lancellotta. Among the whites also we need to remember Malvasia di Candia, Alionza, Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Bianco.
Do you know which is the most cultivated red grape in the region?
There is no doubt that Sangiovese is the grape variety in which the Emilian viticulture relies. It allows winemakers to produce single-variety wines, but it is used also in blends especially with Cabernet Sauvignon and ancient grapes like Verucchiese and Marzabino. Sangiovese is an integral part of the appellations Colli d'Imola, Colli di Faenza and Sangiovese di Romagna. It pairs well with local cuisines based on meat: grilled roasts, lamb and of course braised meats and pasta with “ragu alla bolognese”.
A wine for every taste. Enjoy!
There are still many more different appellations in Emilia-Romagna. Trebbiano, with its herbal notes and crisp mouthfeel is the base for Colli d'Imola and Colli di Faenza. The white Pignoletto offers deep concentration and intensity of aromas with white flowers, honey and peach.
It is used for the Colli Bolognesi Pignoletto DOCG, Colli d'Imola and the Reno DOC. At the same time, in some of the above-mentioned appellations a large degree of land and production is given to the cultivation of international grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
At the same time Albana di Romagna is grown with predominance in the region. In 1987 it was the first white wine to obtain, D.O.C.G. status. It is produced as a dry, off-dry or sweet passito wine. But remember not to overlook the interesting Vin Santo di Vigoleno of the area, which is produced in limited quantities.
As we’ve seen Emilia-Romagna produces many wines, of which Lambrusco is one of the most famous abroad. Lambrusco, a young fresh wine by definition, has ancient origins. The Latins called is for 'Labrusca Vitis' a wild vine that grew on the countryside.
Did you know there are also white and rose’ Lambrusco wines?
Red, rose’, white and sparkling Lambrusco create eclectic, easy drinking and cheerful wines with low alcohol content: these are the characteristics that have made Lambrusco a celebrated variety around the world since the 1970s.
Lambrusco actually represents the name of an entire group of vines, similar but not identical, giving rise to the four DOCs of Emilia Romagna: Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro DOC, red and rose’. Which is a perfect match for desserts when in the off-dry style. Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce DOC owes its name to the cylindrical shape of the grape bunches which make it look like a small salami. Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC, is a blend of Lambrusco di Sorbara (max 60%) and Salamino (max 40%).
The last of the four is released under the appellation Modena DOC. Though this appellation isn’t only dedicated only to Lambrusco, as here we can find Pignoletto di Modena - reds, whites and rose’. All styles of Lambrusco should be enjoyed while young, as they are at their most fresh and fruity - forest berries, raspberry and cherry.
Don’t miss the amazing local cuisine
Bologna is the first province in Italy with gastronomic excellence with European wide recognition. The famous tortellini and pork are the undisputed stars of the cuisine. Truffles and chestnuts are found in abundance in the woods of the Apennines, and while traveling down to the valleys you can taste their soft cheeses.
The balsamic vinegar of Modena and Parmigiano Reggiano PDO are some of the main products that you can discover in Modena. But don’t miss the ragu alla bolognese, mortadella and the world-famous lasagne.
It’s the homeland of Lambrusco and you definetly need to try it in all its styles. Wonderful medium-bodied reds and refreshing whites.What are the most popular grape varieties in Emilia-Romagna?
Easy drinking and fruity Lambrusco for aperitif. Then let yourself dazzled by the medium-bodied and elegant Sangiovese reds. Don’t miss the refreshing Pignoletto and Albana di Romagna.What types of food works well with wines from Emilia-Romagna?
Light reds: Sparkling Lambrusco and reds are ideal with cotechino, Prosciutto di Parma, lasagne or Parmigiano Reggiano. Sweet: Try the local desserts with Albana di Romagna passito.