Posted by: tomciocco | October 1, 2011

A SASSY BLONDE FROM ROMAGNA

The Romagnoli (folks from the eastern half of Emilia-Romagna, which has a large border with The Adriatic Sea) are known by their countrymen to be great bons-vivants; a cheerful, affable, easy-going lot, even for Italians. Of course these sort of regional pronouncements are always overstated, but in Italy the (beautiful, handmade) shoes seem to fit more often than not…

That said, Albana (di Romagna) is indeed a wine of and by the people, and the place from which it sprouts. It thrives only in lightly hilly, dense, clay soils that get plenty of percipitation (guess what Romagna’s land and climate is like?), and from this, yields bright, even saucy dry whites, vivacious sparkling wines, as well as luscious but fresh sweet wines (probably the variety’s most celebrated incarnation) all of which possess a zippy, but generous character that go well with a wide range of foods (not the least of which is fish – see below).

Likely stemming from some arcane political arrangement or another, Albana di Romagna was somewhat shockingly granted a D.O.C.G. classification, putting it at least theoretically in the same league with wines like Recioto di Soave, Franciacorta, or Fiano di Avellino. Pretty big shoes to fill to be sure, but there can be no doubting that Albana di Romagna, and indeed any variety, benefits from the stricter regulations and lower yields that the D.O. C. G. classification mandates, and so it is here.

So, because Albana is so wonderfully, splashingly, acidic but still fleshy and with a certain weight, mismatching this wine is hard to manage. My best stab at pairing it this evening amounted to a first course of spinach and egg fettuccine with a butternut squash, sage, cream, and lemon sauce, followed by hake fillets poached in tomato sauce and white wine with plenty of peas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fattoria Zerbina Albana di Romanga 2010

Bright, pale straw/gold color. Piercing, lighly pungent nose of white flowers, fresh ginger, stewed wheat berries, grass and lemon custard. The entry in the mouth is crisp and tart, but fleshes out to a medium-bodied wine that is still plenty spunky and energetic with flavors of lemonade, pineapple, and mineral salts, and aromatic notes of  bruised tarragon  on the warm, bitter/tart finish.

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