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Ultimate Guide to the Emilia-Romagna Wine Region

Famous Wines of the Emilia-Romagna Region

Red or white? Among Italian wine-growing regions, Emilia-Ro­magna is noted for the diversity and individual personalities of its wines. Emilia is associated principally with Lambrusco, a frizzante (mildly sparkling) red. However, there are vast differences of character within the several Lambrusco variations. Only recently have the other varieties -- the ones Italians typically enjoy -- reached American cellars. The crisp Lambrusco di Sorbara and spicy Lambrusco Grasparossa are effervescent reds, dry to "amabile" (slightly sweet) in flavor, that pair well with smoked meats such as prosciutto, mortadella and Culatello di Zibello, all Emilia-Romagna products [source: Reynolds].

Among the wines of Romagna, Albana di Romagna has earned much attention with its attainment of the DOCG ranking -- an achievement that has brought its share of controversy. Albana is a white wine, usually dry. However, partially drying the grapes before pressing concentrates the sugar content and results in a sweeter Albana called passito, which some aficionados describe as the Albana grape's finest expression [source: Apicella].

Romagnans tend to favor Sangiovese, a red wine with robust flavor and body [source: DiWine Taste]. Trebbiano di Romagna is a dry white wine, sometimes spumante (bubbly), and so light that it is best consumed young. Lesser known Romagnan wines include Bosco Eliceo DOC, Cagnina, Colli Bolognesi and Pagadebit di Romagna.

Vintners in Emilia-Romagna are making a concerted effort to preserve and market traditional indigenous varietals, in keeping with the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union. The CAP mandates that rural territories should express their unique and individual traditions [source: Fontana]. However, they're also infusing more well-known "international" varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The blends of international and indigenous grapes can't receive a higher denomination than IGT (Typical Geographical Indication), but they're gaining in popularity. The result is a sumptuous array of choices, reflecting both the revitalization of a proud and ancient tradition and the fruits -- literally -- of a globalized market. Whether you prefer red or white, Emilia-Romagna certainly delivers flavorful choices to delight your palate.

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