Wine Dharma

DharMag May 2012 Why shall we drink Romagna wine?

History, origin and characteristics of Emilia-Romagna wines. Wine guide and pics Paolo Francesconi, a shaman? A vineyards' shepherd? A bio-dynamic guru? Just call him winegrower Very simple, because it’s not trendy. There is no colossal marketing machine grinding million of bottles in Romagna. This region, Riviera apart—which is a frenzy stand-alone heaven—has a particular hidden charm, almost naive, sincere, untainted by market imperatives. And this is the first reason why you should drink wine from Romagna: who makes wine in Romagna is driven by passion for its own land or is the heir to a dynasty of wine growers, and often the two things coincide. We are not in Bolgheri, the land here doesn’t yet represent a juicy investment for a bored Russian oligarch who suddenly decides to pursue a career as winemaker or wants to diversify his financial portfolio, although, given the relatively low land prices, wouldn’t be a bad deal at all.

But luckily, you do not become vigneron by chance: to make quality wine a lot of patience is needed, the vines must be on the hills and require constant efforts, hard work, maintenance, there will be exhausting expectations to go through, even if in the end the game worth the candle. So rest assured that the wine made by these guys is typical, coming from a genuine desire originated from tradition or love, in any case both the assumptions are a good start.

Another good news is that these wine are commercially undervalued, which means that the price/quality ratio is remarkably favorable.

Italinan wine regions: Emilia Romagna. Do you want to visit the best wineries? Gabriele Succi, a real tough winegrower. His wines are poetry in a barrel The inferiority complex towards the Tuscan wine is fading away. At last it was understood that the soil of Romagna can give back fine wines boasting a clear, personal style. Thanks god, no one is chasing Tuscany or that spasmodic heavy oaking any longer, with loads of Sangiovese Riserva intoxicated by wood, but rather it tends to produce wines that have a strong bound with its own terroir, neat, often organic or bio dynamic or that could be recognizable and a reliable witness. After years of clonal selections, accurate analysis of the soils to choose the most suitable varieties and technical tweaks, now is the terroir to speak, not fads.

Then we have to consider the native factor. Romagna boasts a fair number of local varieties: Sangiovese-contended with Tuscany, but still traceable to the Apennine that runs between the two regions—Albana, Famoso, Centesimino and Uva Ruggine. Each of these varieties has unique characteristics that deserve to be tasted and are an extremely pleasant diversion from the usual Chardonnay-Pinot Noir-Cabernet Sauvignon triad.

Only a couple of examples. The Famoso grape is virtually unknown, but it could be the new Pinot Grigio: low price, great aromas with flowers, citrus and a touch of tropical fruits elegantly orchestrated by a strong, but pleasant, acidity.

Korean short ribs and wine: Sangiovese and Centesimino from Romagna. And this is the reason why you should drink Centesimino: Chosun Galbi! And what about Centesimino? It’s a champion of floral freshness and charm, with tannins so soft to be almost imperceptible. It gives its best when paired with oriental marinades featuring soy sauce and nashi, see Korean Bulgogi and Galbi (갈비).

Just a final note, before finishing. Small is nice, but not necessarily better when it comes to wine. We should avoid generalizations: not always the small family winery produces masterpieces while the big social winery only dull bottles, but be aware that we are not in South Tyrol, so do not expect St. Michael Eppan style wineries… Producing less than 80000 bottles is not a guarantee of absolute quality, but it’s undeniable that much of the charm of wineries from Romagna is the human dimension: we could say it’s a kind of new humanism revolving around wine. These winegrowers are both the face and the soul of their wineries, the outcome of the vintage is up to them and the choices they are going to do in the vineyards and during the wine-making and all this gives the wine not only personality, but also the mystical, fascinating unpredictability that drives us to fantasize about wine. And you can taste the difference.

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