From the 26th to the 28th of October in Ravenna took place the fest of “Giovin Bacco – Sangiovese in festa”, attracting lots of people to the city centre and reminding us the great social and cultural value of wine in Romagna. For this reason I would like to share with you this article about the history of this region’s most important wines.
In fact, the developement of Romagna’s history and economy has been connected to the traditional species of vine ever since Etruscan times. The queen of Romagna’s vines is undoubtedly the Sangiovese: the word “Sangiovese” does not refer to a specific type of vine, but to a group comprising almost 400 varieties, all catalogued and conserved. This type of black grape is here in Romagna since before the Roman occupation, however under the Romans’ control it becomes a very used good and gains the name of “Sanguis Jovis”: the blood of Jupiter, that gives the wine its current name.
Despite its fame the Sangiovese wine has been always considered an average-quality good, to be consumed within the year and usually not good for the ageing. But in 1970, for the first time in the countryside of Bertinoro has been produced a 3 years-aged Sangiovese, showing the world the versatility of this grape, nowadays considered as a prized grape, worthy of being served to people like Ronald Raegan during its visit to Italy as President of the United States.
The ageing of Sangiovese is just one of the many flagships of Bertinoro‘s winegrowing area, already famous for the production of its Albana white wine (from the latin albus, white). The cultivation of this vine is very ancient and was already practiced in 435 a.C, when the princess Galla Placidia was exploring this area discovering its products and, while tasting Albana from a terracotta glass, she exclaimed: “oh Albana, sei da berti in oro!”, also baptizing this town in the province of Forlì-Cesena and addessing it towards the production of excellence wines.
From 2010 in fact, Bertinoro lived a wine’s “Risorgimento”: the favourable market conditions and the DOC and DOCG certifications encouraged local producers to create a certificate wine consortium. In the following year began the production of historical wines: ancient varieties of Sangiovese, certificated and aged for 3 years up to become Sangiovese Riserva, available on the market from 2014.
Romagna’s winegrowing tradition is not only about Sangiovese and Albana varieties, but also wines like Pagadebit and Cagnina are historical icons of this region: the first one is a wine made out of a weatherproof type of grape; this used to be an almost sure source of income for farmers, so that they can pay the accumulated debt of the previous year. Instead, Cagnina is a red wine with a bitter taste, not to be confused with Canëna: a low-fermentation wine produced during the harvest and mostly used to make cuts.
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