Centisimino is a grape grown in the Romagna region with ever increasing quantities since World War II. The wines are typically sold as a “rosso” with the name of the region it is grown as the prefix, such as the Ravenna Rosso IGT produced by Leone Conti.
What makes these wines so special is that each region you visit may have their own version of a house wine as well as the families you may encounter.
House wines are usually fresh and fruity, low on tannins but always very food friendly.
Sangiovese is a grape that is widely planted throughout Italy and perhaps made famous by two Tuscan DOCGs, Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino. However, there is a third expression of Sangiovese, the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano that should not be missed.
One would think with the multitude of indigenous grapes that italy would not need to import any varietals but the fact is that Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah do very well in the accommodating Italian climate.
Merlot was the first French variety to be planted in Italy following the phylloxera epidemic and was planted in the more northern regions of Veneto, Friuli and Trentino. The popular grape soon found it’s way south to Lombardy, Lazio and Campania.
In the northern part of Lombardy, the river Adda flows west to east, creating a long valley in the Alps that neighbor Switzerland. The wine region here is know as Valtellina, and the grape of choice is Chiavennasca otherwise known as Nebbiolo.
Probably the best known wine in Emilia Romagna is perhaps Lambrusco, a sparkling, joyous red made from grapes grown on high trellised vines in four DOC zones in the Emilia provinces.
Albana is a grape grown mostly in the western part of the Romagna region.
It thrives in the calcareous sandy soils formed by the geological formation known as spungone romagnolo.
The grape offers the producer a variety of choices of how it can be turned into wine, from a dry table wine to a sweet dessert wine made in the passato method from dried grapes.
The scene requires a crisp, refreshing wine low in alcohol to serve as an aperitif. Perhaps no other wine fits more than Prosecco, a sparkling white wine produced in the Veneto region.
It is most famous in the Piedmont, where it shares the slopes with its more sought after neighbor, nebbiolo. It is also common in Lombardy and can be found in the hills of Emilia Romagna.
It can be grown almost anywhere in Italy but is most famous for the wines it produces in Tuscany, most notably Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino. However, it is also an important grape in Romagna, with origins dating back to the Etruscans. The grapes are grown on the hills from Imola down to Rimini and can produce wines meant to be enjoyed early or can be aged for years. The hills around Fiori, known as the Predappio sub region, produce particularly fine wines that will rival any found in Tuscany.