It’s always a nice job to share impressions, emotions and evaluations about typical wines of a specific Italian region (in this case: Romagna, on the North of Italy), comfortably in my city: Rome. I Like too much the idea of focusing on the Albana di Romagna vine, suggested in dry version (introducing by sommelier Monica Coluccia) proposed which is the most true and perhaps the most natural way. Let’s be honest: when we speak about Albana di Romagna DOCG, we think to the most famous kind: the straw wine (Passito) or even the one beneficially shaped by noble rot. But – in my opinion – this kind of Albana dry vinification is the real test for each good wine-grower in Romagna.
Why this? Because Albana is symbolic and ancient Romagna grape. When fully ripe, the bunch is very long and vertical. We have seen pictures of almost “giant” bunches. The berry peel is thick and although the Albana is a white grape variety, the final wine will also be tannic. Also can note low altitude (not over 250 meters) of the vineyards; almost all wine producers switched to organic farming.
Ten shades of dry Albana di Romagna
Here are the 10 “dry” Albana di Romagna selected in order of tasting. My impressions in “free style”.
- Marta Valpiani – Forlì Bianco IGP 2016
Marta Valpiani and her daughter Elisa Mazzavillani, try to do everything by themselves, in a beautiful company, in the lands of Castrocaro Terme (Forlì-Cesena province). The grapes come from Vigneto Cozzi, where the soil is calcareous and clay, at 170 meters altitude.
My tasting note: in the glass showsimmediately its chalky, mild, gentle matrix, between a wild flowers bouquet and a splash of mandarin. In the mouth it’s light but progressive at the same time, fresh, with a bit of sapidity and a nice citrus finish. Typical tannic sensations.
Some technical data: aged for 5 months in steel, then rests in the bottle until commercialization. Only 1295 bottles produced.
- Fattoria Zerbina – Romagna Albana Secco Bianco of Ceparano DOCG 2016
On the hills of Marzeno (Faenza) there is a beautiful alberello (means “little tree”) vineyard dated 1980. Fattoria Zerbina (by Cristina Geminiani) is famous all over the world for its passito Scacco Matto, expertly soaked with botrytis cinerea (noble rot): a wine that can easily compete with the best Sauternes.
Here, in Rome, the Fattoria gave a great demonstration of enological wisdom.
My tasting note: this dry Albana looks like a Nordic white wine: white pepper, sage, thyme, boxwood, saffron, enclosed in a lively aromatic framework. Taste shows the chalky matrix. Intense, sapid, with a good concentration, long and persistent. It’s a complete wine in perfect balance and with a nice saline note.
Some technical data: after fermentation, it is aged on fine lees for 6 months in cement tanks.
3. Leone Conti – Romagna Albana Secco “Progetto I” DOCG 2016
This Albana born from three different vineyards in Oriolo and Santa Lucia, near Faenza, for a total of three hectares, between 50 and 80 meters above sea level.
My tasting note: scents of salt and spices, rosemary, wheat, then aromatic, pepper and white currant. The sip is very soft, with almost sugary note: it is fresh, caloric, of good persistence. The whole limestone matrix is felt all in the mouth.
Some technical data: vineyard almost all converted to the organic viticulture. Vinification in steel, then maturation for 6 months in steel and another 3 months in glass. 15,000 bottles.
- Gallegati – Romagna Albana Corallo Giallo DOCG 2016
Antonio and Cesare Gallegati have been producing Albana since 1998. The 60-year-old vines stretch over the Coralli Mountains in Brisighella (in the province of Ravenna), 200 meters above sea level.
My tasting note: clear calcareous flavor, wild flowers, broom. Salty taste, almost soft, of good intensity and medium length. In this wine I also find the tannic component. Some technical data: fermentation in stainless steel and bottling in spring.
- Tre Monti – Romagna Albana Secco Vigna Rocca DOCG 2016
Vigna della Rocca (50 years old), grows on dark land: it’s located at Petrignone (province of Forlì), 120-150 meters above sea level. In the wine can also find the grapes of Serra (Imola), where the clays are clear, forming a mix of two lands.
My tasting note: reveals sweet citrus and quince notes. Savory taste, thin and good balance.
Technical data: 70% maceration on the skins, 30% soft pressing, vinification in steel. 20,000 bottles.
- Giovannini – Romagna Albana Secco GioJa DOCG 2016
Made with grapes from Podere Bellana (Imola), a clayey and silty soil with 30-year-old vineyards. Jacopo Giovannini, owner with his father Giorgio. The label bottle shows first syllables of two owners names.
My tasting note: the note of hydrocarbons stands out for its perfumes. It looks like a Riesling. Sweat, savory, intense, the finish is bitter orange. Surprising in this white the perfect balance despite almost 16% alcohol.
Some technical data: vinification with indigenous yeasts, 8 months in cement on the lees.
- Cantina San Biagio Vecchio – Ravenna Bianco Sabbia Gialla IGT 2016
Lucia Ziniti and Andrea Balducci built a cellar at San Biagio Vecchio (Faenza). The vineyards are located at 190 meters above sea level. The plants grow on sands of Pleistocene origin mixed with red clays and small veins of calcareous clays.
My tasting note: intense mature, as quince, citrus fruits. Very round, fresh sip with a sweet final note, almost of yellow peach.
Some technical data: maceration of the must on its skins for one day, maturation in stainless steel tanks for 6 months.
- Ancarani – Romagna Albana Santa Lusa DOCG 2015
The owners, Rita Babini and Claudio Ancarani (called by friends “the Agricolo”), built a small and dynamic vinery at Oriolo dei Fichi (Faenza) at 140 meters above sea level. Santa Lusa wine shows in the glass all the longevity potential of Albana grape.
My tasting note: intense nose, focused on the floral, but with spicy and almost aromatic hues. An impudent bouquet! The taste begins soft, round, almost sweet, then it is fresh with a hint of flavor. Final sip go to a firm tannic trail. “The Albana vine tells the story well and we must let it talk”, explains Rita Babini
Some technical data: de-stemming and normal crushing of the must in the presence of peels for 3-5 days. Devatting and soft pressing. Maturation of 3 months on the lees, then aging in cement tanks for 12 months. Then 3 months in the bottle.
- Paolo Francesconi – Vino Bianco Arcaica 2015
From the Sarna area (Faenza), rich in red clays and twenty year old vines trained in Guyot and Romagna pergola. Organic farm since 1992, but Paolo winks to biodynamic. This wine is characteristic for the minimal refinement in terracotta amphora.
My tasting note: in the glass golden yellow, macerated and slightly oxidized notes. Perfume pear and hay. Floral broom, thyme, bouquet interesting but not clear enough. Instant, ample, immediately savory with a hint of sweetness. Mineral at the right point and good persistence.
Some technical data: it’s aged 90% in steel and 10% in terracotta amphora. Use only indigenous yeasts. 60 days maceration.
- Vigne dei Boschi – Ravenna Bianco Monterè IGT 2014
From a vineyard established in 1985 by Katia and Paolo Babini, after several clonal selections, at Brisighella, at 150-200 meters on calcareous white soil.
My tasting note: in this wine there is full correspondence between the land of origin and taste-olfactory sensations. It is different and more evolved than all previous Albana tasted. Calcareous and clayey notes, coffee beans, barley, thyme and sage, yellow fruity. Citric taste, intense, soft, good concentration: with shoulders and muscles. He is the only one who knows wood, but with style.
Some technical data: vinification in second passage Allier French oak tonneau. It remains in maturation in the same barrels for 24 months.
Conclusion? The dry Albana di Romagna wine is really a beautiful discovery!