Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Grape Spotlight: Colli di Rimini Rebola (Pignoletto, Grechetto di Todi)

The northern Italian province of Emilia-Romagna emanates history.  In ancient times it was populated by Thessalians, Etruscans, Celts, and Umbrians -- all before the Romans ascended to power. It contains the Rubicon River which  Julius Caesar crossed in 49 BC, setting the stage for the Ides of March drama. The port city of Ravenna became the capital of the Western Holy Roman Empire in AD 402 and is where King Theodoric the Great established the capital for the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy. In the Middle Ages, the province changed ownership between various competing principalities and kingdoms, but the University of Bologna remained a constant source of higher education. It is the oldest university in Europe having been established in AD 1088. And more consequential to our focus, Emilia-Romagna has always been considered one of the richest regions of Italy in regards to wine-making tradition.
Emilia-Romagna is a rich, fertile region of northern Italy, and one of the country's most prolific wine regions – more than 136,000 acres (55,000ha) were under vine in 2010. At 150 miles (240km) wide, it spans almost the entire width of the northern Italian peninsula, sandwiched between Tuscany to the south, Lombardy and Veneto to the north and the Adriatic Sea to the east. Nine miles of Liguria is all that separates Emilia-Romagna from the Ligurian Sea, and uniqueness as the only Italian region with both an east and a west coast. (wine-searcher.com)
Vines were first introduced to the region by the Etruscans and widely adopted by the Romans. Most interestingly, the grape varieties planted in previous centuries were of the Vitis labrusca species rather than the Vitis vinifera. For example, Emilia-Romagna's famous Lambrusco varieties are derived from the Vitis labrusca species.  Today, there are 20 or so DOC titles, and one of these, Colli di Rimini, is located south of Ravenna bordered by the Adriatic Sea to the east and by the Apennines Mountains to the west.

Courtesy of Vineyards.com
The Colli di Rimini DOC was created in November 1996 and a 2009 re-classification favored a shift to varietal wines with Cabernet Sauvignon and Rebola the featured grapes. If a wine is made from at least 85% of either one, the name of that variety is included as part of the DOC title on labels: Colli di Rimini Cabernet Sauvignon and Colli di Rimini Rebola. DNA evidence that Rebola is the name given to Pignoletto (the Colli Bolognesi Pignoletto DOC) which is also the same as Umbria's Grechetto di Todi.

The first written documentation of Rebola dates to 1378 and refers to it as "Ruibola" or "Greco" and according to wine-searcher.com "Rebola is a fruity and velvety wine, easy to pair with food and able to feature complex perfumes and tastes when aged in wooden barrels or casks".

One Colli di Rimini producer that we recently sampled through the Hopwine program is Vini San Valentino. Their organically grown vines are situated a few kilometers from the Adriatic on the hills of Rimini.  These coastal vineyards receive evening breezes to cool the grapes after a day of abundant sunshine. The Mascarin family has owned the property since 1990 and has concentrated on Sangiovese, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, and Rebola. Two Rebola wines were included in our Hopwine kit and these wines impressed with their richness and structure. The 2019 Colli di Rimini Scabi Rebola is extremely complex - floral with various tropical and stone fruit notes that combine with its depth and refreshing acids to leave a lasting impression. The 2018 Colli di Rimini Rebola ViVi is even more impressionable. Named after the owner's late wife Valeria Vivian, this wine flows seamlessly through a current of creamy peaches with textured layers of acidity.   I'd cross the Rubicon for this wine.

Update:  Vini San Valentino wines are available in Maryland and Michigan and will be soon available in NY, NJ, Massachusetts, Texas, Rhode Island.

Saints: Apollinaris of RavennaSt. Marcian of Ravenna

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