Emilia Romagna is an interesting Italian wine region. Fact is, wine quality is higher than most wine lovers are aware of, but as it is also all over the board, attendees of travelling road tasting shows filled with unlikely and oftentimes really poor wines cannot help but walk away scratching their heads (and looking to buy wines from somewhere else). And that’s a shame for both Emilia and Romagna have a lot to offer the non-accidental wine lover out there.
In fact, even though we speak of Emilia-Romagna, the two halves which the region is split in (Emilia is the western half, Romagna the eastern one with a beautiful coastline hugging the Adriatic Sea) could not be more different. Both are really, really beautiful, with gorgeous cities full of monuments, theatres and museums worth seeing not once but twice (and even more than that), beautiful natural scenery and probably Italy’s best food (and that’s saying something). Add to all that the wines are super-interesting and wine lovers have therefore plenty of reason to visit. Emilia’s white grapes include Pignoletto, Malvasia di Candia Aromatica and Ortrugo, while the dominant red grapes are the many Lambrusco varieties. Lambrusco wines are especially fun to drink, and have never been better. Lambrusco di Sorbara is a wine of amazing grace: by contrast, Lambrusco Grasparossa wines are much more tannic and darker in their aroma and flavour profile, and the little-known and underrated Lambrusco Marani gives wines that are somewhat reminiscent of those made with Lambrusco di Sorbara. All in all, Lambrusco wine lovers have never had it better. A specialty of Emilia, but also little-known, are the wines made with Malvasia Rosa, a mutation of the more common Malvasia Bianca Aromatica di Candia of which there are reportedly only three estates making wine from anywhere. I urge you to hunt them down. Spergola is another little known white variety of Emilia that deserves attention: simple, easygoing, lemony wines of it are perfect as summer sippers on the hot days ahead.
Over in Romagna, the main white grape is Albana (that gives fleshy, tannic white wines and remarkably good sweet ones, mostly from air-dried grapes) while Sangiovese is the main red grape. The latter variety is giving better and better wine in the region, thanks mostly to a new generation of younger, forward-thinking and well-travelled youngsters who are making Sangiovese-accurate wines like never before (too often in the past Romagna Sangiovese wines were inky in colour, aroma and flavour profile and were just simply not much fun to drink). Today, that’s all changed, with wineries like Chiara Condello (talented Chiara is a true emerging Italian wine star), Condé (same owner), Noelia Ricci and Tenuta Mara just some of the first to come to mind, but there are other estates worth following that have been around for some time such as the outstanding Giovanna Madonia and Poderi Morini.
But Romagna also boasts the Centesimino grape (among many other noteworthy native wine grapes that deserve your attention, such as Ruggine and the Famoso) that gives fleshy, perfumed wines that are an absolute knockout, sort of a cross between Ruché and Lacrima wines but more graceful and refined than those wines made with those two grapes. Poderi Morini is the undisputed star here, but Ancarani also makes outstanding wines with the Centesimino, ranging from dry to sweet (the sweet Centesimino wines pair splendidly with rich chocolate desserts). I cannot recommend the wines of these wineries (and others too) enough: understandably, regions such as Piedmont, Tuscany, Friuli and the likes get all lot of the wine press, but Emilia Romagna offers many wine treasures for those willing to do their homework, and legwork. So, arm yourself with a good glass, patience, and get ready to have some fun. Cheers!
Due to the ongoing Covid-related travel bans and quarantine requirements making safe travel difficult, the wines in this report were tasted between September 2020 and April 2021 in Rome and Shanghai. We will hopefully soon return to tasting Italy’s regional wines and visiting the wineries in a timely fashion.
Non-Vintage (NV) Vino Spumante Metodo Classico Brut 86
2019 Pignoletto Modena Ancestrale 88
Pale straw colour. Aromas and flavours of green apple, white flowers and pear, with a whisper of herbs contributing just a touch of needed complexity. Though this finishes a little too tannic and excessively mouth-coating practically locking the gums together (not all that surprisingly, given that Pignoletto is a tannic variety, but this is a bit much even for Pignoletto), it does start out very nicely and typically enough. Drinking window: now-2022
2019 Lambrusco di Modena Ancestrale Vino Frizzante Secco 90
Pale pink. Aromas and flavours of strawberry and herbs. Excellent balance, long and not over the top, avoiding excessive fruitiness and sweetness. The close is clean and lovely, offering plenty of early appeal. Drinking window: now-2022
2016 Vino Spumante Metodo Classico Brut Rosé 89
Good pink colour. The nose offers straightforward red fruit and floral aromas. Then slightly bubble-gummy in the mouth, with an off-dry quality to its red fruit flavours. Closes with a touch of obvious residual sugar (RS), but not to the point where it becomes unbearable. Paired with the right foods (something spicy, for example), this will do quite well. Drinking window: now-2024
2017 Vino Spumante Metodo Classico Rosso Brut Nature 87
Bright red. Aromas of strawberry, black cherry, and dried flowers. Clean, vibrant and still very tightly coiled, with good underlying acidity providing excellent juicy lift to the red fruit and herbal flavours, but tastes just too dry, coming across as harsh. Conveys good flavour authority but just a smidge of residual sugar would have made a big difference to this wine’s overall pleasurableness. Instead, without food, this is tough going, so make sure you pair it to something suitable for maximum enjoyment. Drinking window: now-2024
2015 Vino Spumante Metodo Classico Brut Nature 91
This is really very good: clean, fresh and long, a very serious bubbly that offers precise aromas and flavours of orchard fruit and flowers, not to mention a bracing, perfumed, rising finish. Well done. Drinking window: now-2024
Castello della Volta
NV Chardonnay Pinot Metodo Classico Dosaggio Zero Il Mattaglio 91
Bright straw. Always a classic, this clean, bracing, lovely bubbly offers aromas and flavours of sneaky complexity and concentration. Not the richest bubbly you will come across, but its austere nature is buffered by a late, rising, and welcome fruitiness. Drinking window: now-2023
2015 Vino Spumante Bianco Metodo Classico Brut Christian Bellé 90
Classically dry and juicy on entry, then tactile and taut in the mid-palate, this bright bubbly offers superb energy and lift, if not the last word in complexity. Finishes long, precise and pure and will match well to uncomplicated fish and white meat dishes. Drinking window: now-2023
2019 Lambrusco di Sorbara Frizzante Secco Rimosso 88
Bright ruby-red. Blackberry, violet and herbs on the fragrant nose. Then lively and juicy in the mouth too, with harmonious acidity framing the dark fruit and fresh herb flavours. Not the most concentrated or complex wine you’ll ever taste but loads of fun to drink with the right foods. Drinking window: now-2023
NV Lambrusco di Sorbara Frizzante Secco Metodo Classico Brut Rosso 91
Bright red. Musky, wild aromas of strawberry and mint, plus an enticing violet top note. Broad and clean in the mouth, with accurate, tightly coiled flavours of spicy red fruits, minerals, dried rose petals and fresh violets. Nicely done here. Drinking window: now-2023
2015 Lambrusco di Sorbara Metodo Classico Brut Rosé 90
Very grapey both on the nose and in the mouth, with a soft and almost sweet candied quality to its red fruit flavours, but with just enough lift to avoid coming across as cloying or tiring. I would like to have a little more length for higher score but this is a lovely Lambrusco wine. Drinking window: now-2023
2014 Lambrusco di Sorbara Metodo Classico Brut Trentasei 88
Bright and clean, with a cool quality to the apple and pear aromas and flavours, complicated by floral and minty notes. Perhaps just a touch lean in this vintage, which wasn’t an especially easy one. Drinking window: now-2023
2019 Lambrusco di Sorbara Frizzante Secco Vigna del Cristo 93
Pale bright pink. Aromas and flavours of wild strawberries, roses and violets, with a good dusting of minerals. A classic Lambrusco wine of real quality, this is full, rich and dense, boasting remarkable sugar-acid-tannin balance. The Vigna del Cristo continues to perform like the benchmark Lambrusco di Sorbara it is. Drinking window: now-2024.
2019 Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Frizzante Secco Col Sassoso 89
Good deep ruby. Perfumed aromas of blackberry, smoke and underbrush. At once silky and firmly built, with flavours similar to the aromas and very good juiciness and grip from the lively acids, closing with a firm tannic spine. A little bit of residual sugar might have helped this be somewhat more accessible; it might be just my palate but I find Lambrusco Grasparossa wines can sometimes be too much of a good thing with all their power, which is further heightened when vinified bone dry. Drinking window: now-2024.
2016 Lambrusco di Sorbara Metodo Classico Secco Brut Rosé del Cristo 92
Pretty pink hue. Knockout aromas and flavours of potpourri, pink flowers, wild strawberries and white cherries. Finishes long juicy and vibrant, with a whisper of mineral dust and of mint. Another very successful wine from the Cristo area, a real grand cru for Lambrusco di Sorbara. Drinking window: now-2022.
NV Lambrusco Otello Nero di Lambrusco 89
Relatively lightly coloured for a Lambrusco and maestri-based wine. Perfumed and fragrant, with good juiciness and insidious sweetness to the classically dry flavours of red and dark cherry and herbs. Maybe not the last word in complexity, but bright and fun on the creamy lively finish. Drinking window: now-2022.
2017 Sangiovese Romagna Predappio 85
Dark red. Way too ripe on the nose and in the palate, this features downright cooked fruit notes. Big and fleshy but rather graceless, this is perhaps the only wine made by the talented Chiara Condello that has left me wondering, but the vintage was such that it was hard to escape unscathed.
2017 Sangiovese Riserva Romagna Predappio Le Lucciole 90
Le Lucciole Riserva has been a benchmark Romagna Sangiovese for some time now and in 2017 it appears it managed to weather the difficult weather (no pun intended) well. Deep red, aromas and flavors of smoky herbs, tar, licorice and ripe red and blue fruit, it finishes long and ripe but not over the top with youthfully chewy tannins and lingering herbal and ripe fruit nuances. Drinking window: now-2028
2016 Sangiovese Riserva Romagna Predappio Le Lucciole 94+
Here we have a Chiara Condello wine in top form: bright red and characterized by an almost cheerful disposition of red and blue fruit, enticingly complicated by herbs and balsamic vinegar nuances. Rich, dense and really quite good, this finishes long and clean with a seamless quality and truly beautiful purity and precision to its red cherry fruit and mineral flavours. This very young wine is a real knockout and it will only improve further with a few more years spent in a good cellar. Brava! Drinking window: now-2028
2019 Lambrusco di Sorbara Premium Vecchia Modena 93
Lambrusco wines really don’t come much better than this: rich, dense and pleasantly chewy but at the same time very lively and light on its feet, with concentrated, focused raspberry and strawberry aromas and flavours complemented by a gentle touch of herbs. The long close features noteworthy lift thanks to vibrant, harmonious acidity. Knockout wine. Vecchia Modena is as close to a can-not-miss wine year after year as you’ll find in Italy. Drinking window: now-2023
2019 Lambrusco di Sorbara Frizzante Secco Fermentato in Botte del Fondatore 91
Very pretty dark pink. Perfumed aromas and flavours of sour red cherries, wild strawberries cinnamon and balsamic oils. Fresh and lively in the mouth, but with an underlying serious spine and sneaky depth. The nicely persistent finish has building suave quality that it’s impossible not to like and repeating red berry notes that captivate. Well done here. Drinking window: now-2024.
2018 Lambrusco di Sorbara Frizzante Secco Fermentato in Botte del Fondatore 88
Pale pink. Fragrant nose of berries and herbs, but a little candied in the mouth and with less precision and energy than I might have expected of its red fruit and floral flavours. The aftertaste is medium-long and savory. Strikes me as less complex than the 2019, that I liked more. Drinking window: now-2023.
2019 Lambrusco di Sorbara 89
Bright pink. The nose combines apricot, marzipan and flowers. Then open-knit yellow fruit, red flowers and almond flavors. The finish is bright and fresh, offering repeating yellow fruit and floral notes, plus a welcome hint of sweet raspberry. In spite of its firm acidity this seems easier to taste today than many other Lambrusco di Sorbara wines I tasted this year. Drinking window: now-2022.
2017 Lambrusco di Sorbara Rosso Brut Metodo Classico 86
NV Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Frizzante Secco Bio 88
Deep but slightly monotonal nose of cassis, licorice and herbs. Pliant and clean, with a broad middle, but its red fruit and herbal flavours lack a little generosity. Finishes bright and long, but I would have liked it to be just a touch rounder.
2019 Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Vigneto Enrico Cialdini 91
Always a classic, the 2019 Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Vigneto Enrico Cialdini struck me as less big and thick than some past vintages of this wine. But it does boast a more intensely perfumed nose of red berries and a little hint of chalky minerality on the fine grained finish. Nicely balanced and well-structured, this is one Lambrusco that can actually take a year or two of aging. Drinking window: now-2024
NV Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Amabile Centenario 93
Now this is superb. Very intensely perfumed and flavorful, and very much like a blackberry fruit cocktail that is neither too sweet nor dry. Finishes very long and pure, showcasing exceptional acid-fruit-tannin balance and just the right amount of residual sweetness (this is more off-dry than dry, but barely off-dry at that). It bears repeating, this is a real knockout. Drinking window: now-2022
NV Lambrusco di Modena Spumante Dry Pruno Nero 87
Medium ruby-red. Aromas and flavours of red and blue fruit, plus a dash of sweet spices and cocoa. A sweet Lambrusco (the “Dry” on the label refers to the classic nomenclature of sparkling wines, where a “Dry” wine is actually slightly sweet) but that still finishes bitter and astringent, not to mention too simply and short. Drinking window: now-2022
2016 Sangiovese Superiore Romagna Predappio 88+
Dark red. Rather oak-dominated with spices and not much fruit showing presently either on the nose or on the palate. Finishes medium-long and clean, but this is just a touch too austere presently. I’m not so sure that cellaring for a few years will help that much, but it can’t hurt and it might yet come around. Drinking window: 2023-2027
2016 Sangiovese Riserva Romagna Predappio Raggio Brusa 91
Deep ruby. Aromas and flavours of small red berries, underbrush, oriental wood and dark tea leaf. Well integrated acids and tannins leave a smooth, clean impression of precision and length. The presence of the Sangiovese is much easier to spot and appreciate here, and I think that helps in no small measure. Drinking window: 2023-2029.
2019 Ravenna Bianco 91
Pale, bright yellow. Peach and fresh pear on the nose along with vanilla and other sweet spice notes. Silky and insidiously sweet, with a fine-grained texture and a very suave mouthfeel that lingers nicely. A blend in which Albana has the lion’s share (60% total), this is a very pretty white wine that offers sneaky complexity and concentration. A touch of noble rot adds complexity and a hint of glycerol sweetness. Lovely. Drinking window: now-2022
2019 Albana Secco Romagna Bianco di Ceparano 88
Easygoing and accessible, this very tasty white wine offers grapey aromas and flavours complemented by hints of banana, pineapple and custard. Albana is a rare tannic white variety so the youthfully chewy nuance on the long back end is to be expected. Drinking window: now-2024
2016 Sangiovese Riserva Romagna Marzeno Pietramora 88
Clean and fresh with a nice mix of herbs and red fruit aromas and flavours, but with slightly dusty tannins that reduce the sensation of sweetness and leaving a persistent astringency on the medium-long back end. Drinking window: 2023-2027
2016 Sangiovese Riserva Romagna Sequenza 90+
Herbs and red fruit, plus hints of caramel and sweet spices, greet the nose and palate. A rather big, chunky red in which the Sangiovese character is somewhat lost but might develop with a little more cellaring. Drinking window: 2024-2030
2013 Ravenna Rosso Marzieno 86
2016 Albana Romagna Passito Scaccomatto 95
Luminous golden yellow. Intense and very pure marmelady noble rot really lifts the suave, rich, and concentrated fresh orchard fruit, crystallized mango and vanilla aromas and flavours. Closes long, clean and remarkably precise. Absolutely gorgeous and multilayered, this is by far the best wine I tasted from Emilia Romagna this year; in fact one of the better ones from Italy. Well done. Drinking window: now-2027.
2019 Lambrusco di Sorbara Corte degli Attimi 91
Almost fluorescent pink-red in colour. Gentle nuances of red fruit and violet linger nicely on the crisp, classically dry finish. Ideal with sausages and cold cuts. All-right now, what are you waiting for? Drinking window: now-2022
2017 Lambrusco dell’Emilia Le Ghiarelle Il Franco 88
Deep red. Blackberry, dark plum and violet on the nose and in the mouth. The slightly tannic backbone provides support to the soft red fruit flavours and nicely extends them on the back end, but this is neither especially complex nor long. Drinking window: now-2022
2012 Torre dei Nanni Emilia La Torre Vecchie Vigne 87
Very deep colour. A very big deep, dense and chewy red wine redolent in licorice and tar notes to its dark fruit aromas and flavours. Lacks balance, with a touch too much alcohol and noteworthy acidity leaving behind an impression of unwelcome toughness. Drinking window: now.
2019 Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Frizzante Secco Becco Rosso 87
2019 Albana Secco Romagna Neblina 88
Pale straw yellow. Orchard fruit, pear and minerals on the nose and in the mouth. I normally really like Neblina’s crisp delivery of white and yellow fruit and how it stand up with youthful tannic exuberance to many foods. That said, I find this 2019 a little simple and blessed with only average length. Clean and fresh, boasting easygoing appeal, it will prove perfectly suited to uncomplicated brunch or lunch fare. According to Madonia herself, I am the first wine writer to have ever given an award to this wine, now many years ago. Drinking window: now-2023
2018 Sangiovese Superiore Romagna Fermavento 85
2017 Sangiovese Riserva Romagna Bertinoro Ombroso 90
Deep opaque ruby. Aromas and flavours of dark plum, herbs, steel, graphite and grilled herbs. The tannins are youthfully chewy but mostly nobly and the acidity well-integrated. Finishes just a little tight and fruit challenged at the back but this very solid, strapping wine will likely improve developing more nuance in the years to come (and this despite being the product of a hot year). Drinking window: 2022-2027
2016 Sangiovese Riserva Romagna Bertinoro Ombroso 91
Deep red-ruby. Then big, dark and deep on the nose and in the mouth too, with the Sangiovese character having a tough time emerging currently from the tannic cloak it is enshrined in. But this sports very good depth and a clean and elegant personality, leaving behind on the long close a precise, energetic mouthfeel. Drinking window: 2023-2030
2016 Colli Romagna Centrale Rosso Riserva Barlùme 90
Deep ruby. Plum jam, blackberry juice, flint, cocoa and cedar on the nose and in the mouth. Ripe and juicy, with tannic clout under control as tannins are fine-grained and smooth. The finish is long and precise. Almost a 50-50 Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot blend (with a little more Cab). Drinking window: 2023-2025
2019 Merlot Forli Sterpigno 86
NV Lambrusco Rosé Frizzante Reggiano Lambrusco 88
Bright medium pink. Pungent and earthy on the nose, while in the mouth aeration helps smoothen it over into something less pungent. Showcases silky tannins that nicely support and extend the red fruit and floral flavours on the long juicy finish. Drinking window: now-2023
NV Lambrusco Rosso Frizzante Reggiano Lambrusco 89
Deep red. Smoked meat, violet and orange peel on the nose. Juicy, sweet and shapely, this is not especially complex but offers attractive acid-tannin balance. Finishes with smooth but substantial tannins and good length. Drinking window: now-2023
NV Lambrusco Rosé Frizzante Emilia In Correggio 89
Bright aromas of violet and wild strawberry on the perfumed nose. Very clean on entry, then deep and creamy in the middle, with straightforward flavours of plum and blueberry on the close. Really quite good but lacks a little sweetness and dries on the back end for an outstanding score. Drinking window: now-2023
NV Lambrusco Rosso Scuro Vino Frizzante Reggiano 90
Bright ruby-red. Medicinal blackberry and violet aromas are complemented by a luscious, ripe dark cherry quality. Deep, broad and rich, conveying an impression of opulence to its candied violet, blackberry coulis and inky herb flavors. Spreads out horizontally and very nicely on the long suave back end. Drinking window: now-2023
2007 Lambrusco Metodo Classico Rosso Brut 92
Good fully purple-ruby. Deep and very smooth, this offers captivating aromas and flavours of raspberry, strawberry and minerals. At once very fruity and serious, this lingers impressively on the long penetrating and complex finish. Knockout Lambrusco wine, and nowhere near being over the hill. Drinking window: now-2023
2019 Malvasia Aromatica di Candia Colli Piacentini Boccadirosa 90
Deep yellow. Intensely ripe with honeyed peach and citrus fruit on the nose. Then similarly ripe on entry but a touch dilute in the middle, with a fruit cocktail-like quality and spicy baked fruit flavours lingering nicely. This is so much fun to drink I’ll award it an outstanding score. Drinking window: now-2023.
2018 Chardonnay Colli Piacentini Selín dl’Armari 87
2015 Vino Spumante Pas Rosé Brut 87
2017 Barbera Colli Piacentini 90
Deep ruby. Perfumed aromas and flavours of blue and red fruit have an intensely peppery note to them. Nicely spicy on the long finish which showcases harmonious acidity. Drinking window: now-2023.
2017 Pinot Nero Colli Piacentini 89
Good full red. The nose reminded me of Luretta’s 2017 Barbera, with the strong note of black pepper dominating the red fruit and floral aromas somewhat. But then this is not as strongly spicy in the mouth as that wine, being much brighter and livelier, with juicy floral red and blue fruit flavours that are nicely persistent. Not very Pinot Noir-like (especially on the nose) but a lovely wine nonetheless. Drinking window: now-2023
2016 Gutturnio Superiore 85
2019 Concerto Reggiano Lambrusco 89
Deep red. Bigger and drier than some other recent vintages of this wine, there’s perhaps just the slightest hint of greenness lurking beneath the upfront juicy red and blue fruit and floral flavours. Long and clean on the straightforward, uncomplicated finish. Drinking window: now-2022
2019 Lambrusco di Sorbara Rifermentato Secco Phermento 92
Pale medium red. Classically dry red fruit aromas and flavours are complicated by violet, rose and potpourri, and lifted by notes of orange peel. Bright, juicy and multilayered, with a very smooth mouthfeel and nicely lingering red fruit, vanilla and citrus peel nuances. This is outstanding, and it’s not the first time I find it to be so: Phermento is developing quite the track record. Well done. Drinking window: now-2023.
2019 Le Tenute Assolo Reggiano 89
Deep red. Solid, easygoing, and simple in its aromas and flavours of dark and red fruit, boasting lovely acid-fruit-tannin balance. The finish is clean and crisp. Drinking window: now-2023.
2019 Le Tenute Bocciolo Lambrusco Grasparossa Colli di Scandiano e Canossa Vino Frizzante 90
Good full red. Intensely juicy and fruity notes of violet, plum, blackberry; this is very much like a dark berry fruit cocktail with a touch of alcohol. Clean, crisp and absolutely delicious, this is so good you might even choose to pour it over vanilla ice cream. Drinking window: now-2023.
NV Quercioli Reggiano Lambrusco Vino Frizzante Secco 91
Moderately saturated red. Finishes with a late hit of tannins, but boasts enough ripe fruit and lovely harmonious acidity to taste very well-balanced on the clean, long finish. A hint of residual sugar left behind only adds to this wine’s many charms. Very juicy, this Lambrusco will literally make you salivate from the first to the last sip. Downright excellent, this is the best Quercioli Secco in recent years. Drinking window: now-2023.
NV Quercioli Reggiano Lambrusco Vino Frizzante Dolce 89
Moderately saturated red. Clean, deep aromas and flavours of red berries, vanilla, milk chocolate, candied violet and raspberry jam. Boasts very good tannin-acid-sugar balance, but perhaps a touch more residual sugar wouldn’t have harmed it any as dusty tannins leave an impression of rusticity. I think this wine could deliver even more goodness than it already does; that said, I routinely use it in all my wine courses as a standout example of a sweet Lambrusco wine and so I’m probably overstating my impressions here. Drinking window: now-2023.
Monte delle Vigne
2017 Malvasia Emilia Callas 91
Always a classic, this full-bodied but lively, luscious wine never disappoints and performs well again in this difficult vintage. Aromatic herbs, vanilla, chamomile, mint and hazelnut area connected by an underlying fresh citrus and apple nuance that lingers nicely on the long suave finish. Well done. Drinking window: now-2024.
2019 Albana Secco Romagna Sette Note 89
Deep straw yellow. Clean, fresh long and grapey, this is a very solid rendition of the Albana variety. Finishes long and youthfully chewy, with a hint of rhubarb and apricot pit on the aftertaste. Drinking window: now-2022
2018 Sangiovese Romagna Oriolo 85
2018 Centesimino Ravenna Savignon Rosso 93
Pale red colour. Then absolutely splendid on the nose and in the mouth, with light and lively red fruit and sweet spice nuances lifted by aromatic spices and perfumed flowers. Finishes very long with excellent clarity and cut. This is at once delicate and concentrated: in short, it’s just a really lovely wine. Knockout Centesimino from the recognized master of the variety. Drinking window: now-2026
2016 Ravenna Rosso Traicolli 93+
Bright deep ruby-red. Cassis, red cherry and peach aromas are lifted by a floral note and a hint of cinnamon. Densely packed, with savory and floral notes adding complexity to the smooth, rich red berry flavours that hint at late harvesting. This is still very young and will likely merit an even higher score in three or four years. Drinking window: now-2027
2016 Ravenna Rosso Nadél 90
Bright ruby-red. Blackberry, mint, and smoky oak on the nose. Nicely sweet and juicy, with good energy and focus to the flavours of dark berries and candied violet. Fine-grained tannins provide support to the ripe fruit on the long aftertaste. Drinking window: now-2026
2016 Sangiovese Riserva Romagna Oriolo Nonno Rico 90
Bright medium ruby. Perfumed aromas of redcurrant, blueberry, tea leaf, menthol, violet and herbs. Terrific thrust and energy lift the flavours of red fruits, licorice and minerals. Noteworthy tannins arrive late, allowing this smooth beauty to open in rising fashion on the long back end. Drinking window: now-2022
2019 Trebbiano Romagna 90
Bright straw yellow. Easygoing lemony and floral aromas on the fresh nose. Then richer and riper in the mouth with flavours of peach and pineapple. Nicely persistent on the crisp finish. Drinking window: now-2022
2019 Sangiovese Romagna Predappio Il Sangiovese 89
Quite pale bright red. Herbs and red cherry on the crisp, fresh nose. Then lightly herbal in the mouth with floral redcurrants and licorice flavours nicely framed by lively, harmonious acidity. Not especially fruity, it finishes long but slightly drying. Drinking window: now-2025
2018 Sangiovese Romagna Predappio Godenza 91
Luminous red. Perfumed nose of violet, redcurrants, sour red cherry and licorice: very Sangiovese! Then nicely ripe with harmonious acidity providing the red berry, orange peel and plum flavours with good clarity and cut. Finishes clean and precise with youthfully chewy tannic bite and persistent peppery nuances. Nicely done, this is worth running after. Drinking window: now-2026
2019 Lambrusco di Sorbara Radice 89
Bright pale pink. Rather simple aromas and flavours of apple and red fruit show nice acid-fruit balance. Finishes persistent and clean, but I would have liked a little more oomph. Drinking window: now-2022
2019 Lambrusco di Sorbara Piria 90
Good medium pink. Musky lemon peel, strawberry and herbs on the nose, complicated by licorice and violets. Broad and boasting sneaky concentration, with a noteworthy acid edge to the flavors of strawberry, apricot and herbs. Sophisticated Sorbara with lovely length and excellent grip, not to mention depth. Drinking window: now-2022
2019 Lambrusco di Sorbara Sant’Agata 89
Lively pink colour. Plum, mocha and herbs on the rather closed nose. Enters creamy and sweet, then turns somewhat angular, with red fruit flavours that could use a little more flesh. Closes with a firm spine and a slightly dusty quality. Drinking window: now-2022
2019 Lambrusco di Sorbara Lariserva 85
2019 Lambrusco di Sorbara Leclisse 91
Pale pink. High-pitched aromas of red cherry, licorice, violet and mint. Impressively vibrant with nuanced but complex flavours of raspberry, blueberry, licorice and rose petals. The finish is long and clean and features repeating floral overtones. This struck me as one of the deeper Lambrusco wines I tasted from Paltrinieri this year. Drinking window: now-2023
2017 Lambrusco di Sorbara Rosso Brut Metodo Classico Grosso 91
Medium dark pink-red. The nose hints at strawberry, mint, rose petal and earth tones. Not especially soft or silky, but bright and lifted thanks to lively acidity that neatly frames the flavours of red and blue fruit. Dashes of aromatic herbs and balsamic vinegar on the aftertaste are nicely supported by full, building, tannins and good sweetness, not to mention good energy and lift. Drinking window: now-2023
2019 Pagadebit Romagna Bertinoro 90
A macerated white wine with an orangey hue to its colour. Aromas of bok choy, bean sprouts and honey on the interesting nose. Then good acid-sugar-tannin balance lifts the white and yellow fruit flavours complicated by honeyed elements on the long finish. Drinking window: now-2022
2019 Albana Secco Romagna 86
2019 Sangiovese Romagna 89
Pale red with garnet tinges. Aromas of redcurrant, black tea and licorice. Fresh and chewy, with red fruit and spicy notes that are clean and varietally accurate. Harmonious acidity gives shapes and focus to the youthfully medicinal finish that features suave, broad tannins. Drinking window: now-2023
NV Forli Rosso Rocca 87
2018 Sangiovese Romagna Superiore 87
2016 Sangiovese Riserva Romagna Rusciàt 90
Good full red. Herbs, tar, sweet licorice and red cherry on the nose. Then big and fleshy, with toasty oak strokes buffering the lively red cherry and berry flavours. The chunky mouthfeel persists nicely on the bright finish. Drinking window: now-2024
2017 Sangiovese Superiore Riserva Romagna Petrignone 91
Deep ruby-red. The clean nose is slightly inexpressive presently and needs coaxing to showcase its sour red cherry, violet and tea leaf aromas. Rich and ripe in the mouth, but less extreme than some past frankly over the top vintages of this wine, with refined, smooth red cherry, licorice and herbal flavours that are nicely fared by harmonious acidity. The finish is long and penetrating. Well done. Drinking window: now-2025
NV Vino Frizzante Rosato Rossetto 91
Fresh and clean aromas and flavours of strawberry and red grapes. Boasts lovely sweetness but also lively acidity that really carries the red fruit cocktail-like flavours on the long back end. This is really super-fun and well-balanced, not unlike a cream soda, but one that tastes classically dry. Drinking window: now-2023
2019 Sangiovese Romagna Bartimeo 91
Good bright red. Lovely perfume to the aromas of red cherry and violet, complicated by spicy oak-derived notes. Juicy, pure and firmly built, but with a lively, fruity mouthfeel that offers a vague pinot-like sweetness. Finishes juicy and long, with firm tannins. This is excellent. Drinking window: now-2025
2018 Sangiovese Romagna Nonà 87
2018 Sangiovese Romagna Predappio Ravaldo 89
Bright red-ruby. Deep aromas of raspberry and herbs. The fairly lush and substantial, with good ripeness to the red and dark cherry fruit. Finishes with fine-grained but mouth-coating tannins and very good but not outstanding length. Drinking window: now-2025
2016 Sangiovese Romagna Predappio Riserva Calisto 91
Deep red-ruby. Clean and lively on the nose where violet and red fruit notes jump from the glass. Big sweet and a bit chunky, this finishes with mouth-coating tannins but that are nicely buffered by the juicy sweet pomegranate, plum and soy sauce flavours. Very nice wine. Drinking window: now-2027
2018 Sangiovese Rubicone Biodinamico Guiry 89
Very good red. Ripe aromas of musky strawberry, licorice and truffle underbrush, with a suggestion of dried red fruits. Silky-sweet and light on its feet, but less primary in character than is usual with this bottling. Finishes with relatively fine-grained tannins that help carry the slightly clenched fruit into the foreground. Drinking window: now-2024
2018 Sangiovese Rubicone MaraMia biodinamico 93
Medium red, with a faint orange presence. Pure, highly perfumed aromas of strawberry, almond paste and underbrush. Seamless and politely styled, boasting a perfumed quality and outstanding energy to its vibrant red fruit and herbal flavours. Finishes with a tannic spine but this politely-styled wine is a show stopper. Drinking window: now-2026
2019 Albana Secco Romagna Vigna Rocca 89
Medium bright yellow. Easygoing aromas of yellow plum, fresh apricot, tangerine and balsamic oils. Juicy and pleasantly accessible, with stone fruit, floral and herbal flavors enlivened by a nuance of grilled nuts on the medium-long finish. Drinking window: now-2022
2019 Trebbiano Macerato Rubicone Piuttosto Bio 88
Golden-tinged yellow. Ripe apple, mint and flint on the nose. Spicy and relatively thick in the mouth, bit not aggressive, with a creamy nuance and a broad quality to its orchard fruit and herbal flavours. Finishes medium-long and fragrant, but I would have liked a little more lift. Drinking window: now-2022
2018 Albana in Anfora Secco Romagna Piuttosto 90
Macerated white wine that speaks of honey and faded flowers. Nicely chewy and ripe in the mouth, with a gentle youthful texture and no bitterness whatsoever in its orange peel and quinine flavours. The aftertaste leaves the mouth feeling clean. I’m not much of a fan of “amphora” wines, but this is better than most and I really like the late harvest quality it boasts. Drinking window: now-2022
2019 Sangiovese Romagna Campo di Mezzo 87
2017 Sangiovese Superiore Riserva Romagna Thea Bio 89
Fully saturated ruby. Aromas of blackberry, licorice and bitter chocolate. Large-scaled and brooding, displaying densely packed flavours of ripe red fruits, cocoa and black tea accented by fresh herbs. Plenty of texture and extract on the long finish, but broad, tongue-tying tannins leave an impression of tightness and austerity. Drinking window: now-2022
Villa di Corlo
2019 Pignoletto Spumante Extra Dry Chiaretto 86
2019 Lambrusco di Sorbara Frizzante Secco Primevo 90
Bright straw. Musky aromas and flavors of lemon oil, peach and minty herbs. Clean and vibrant, this spreads broadly to coat the mouth and leaves a floral perfume behind. Not the last word in complexity and actually rather simple, but well-made and inexpensive. Drinking window: now-2022
NV Lambrusco di Sorbara Rifermentato in bottiglia Spumante Brut Rosè 89
Pink hue. Clean, fresh, easygoing and fun, this bubbly offers notes of pink flowers and fruit complicated by balsamic resinous nuances. Drinking window: now-2022