Romagna’s wine-growing region covers a much vaster area than other cultivation areas in Emilia-Romagna. From the Rimini and Riccione coastlines, it stretches northwards to reach the areas that lie to the east of Bologna. Between these two extremities rise the rolling hills that are home to some of the finest and most famous wines of the region.
Two grape varieties in particular have strong ties with the Romagna area, so much so as to advocate for it on a global scale: the white Albana and red Sangiovese varieties.
Grown exclusively in Romagna, the Albana vine variety is tied to the history of the town of Bertinoro, in the province of Forlì, deemed to be the first and most important place where this wine is produced.
Legend has it that Galla Placidia, daughter of Emperor Theodosius, was invited to drink a glass of local wine in a village in the hills on her travels across the Romagna region. She enjoyed the wine so much that she expressed her desire to taste it in a golden goblet, exclaiming to the wine that it wasn’t worthy of the crude chalice it had been served in and that she would rather “drink you from gold” (“berti in oro”, whence the town’s name, Bertinoro).
The first wine in Italy to obtain the DOCG designation (Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin), the different types of Albana wines that are made today are known as secco (dry), amabile (mild), dolce (sweet), passito (raisin wine) and passito riserva (reserve raisin wine). As for its organoleptic properties and appearance, all these wines share a straw-yellow, almost golden hue (amber in the raisin wine type), a dry and slightly tannin taste, which is warmer and harmonious in the dry version, yet fruity and velvety in the sweet and raisin wine versions.
Albana Dei makes for a great occasion to try Albana wine; this event brings the streets of Bertinoro to life with opportunities to taste dry, sweet, sparkling and raisin Albana wine produced by local wine-makers.
In early summer, Bertinoro also hosts the food and wine-themed Vini e sapori in strada fair.
Cultivated in Romagna for centuries, PDO Romagna Sangiovese comes in four different types: alongside its like-named version, these include Romagna Sangiovese Novello, Superiore and Riserva.
The properties of the wines under this DOC designation, which requires that the Sangiovese di Romagna grape account for at least 85% of the grapes used, are their ruby-red colour with purple hues, a floral aroma of violets and blackberries, and a dry, balanced taste with silky tannins.
As the star attraction of a number of festivals around the Romagna region, these wines are characterised by their balance of elegance and structure which gives life to a number of first-rate labels.
Besides Sangiovese and Albana, wine-makers in the Consorzio Vini di Romagna consortium, founded in 1962, devote their efforts to producing other types of wine such as PDO Romagna Trebbiano, PDO Romagna Pagadebit, and PDO Romagna Cagnina.