Consorzio Collio 2024 (175x100)

Vini ad Arte 2023: Romagna doesn’t stop dealing with the weather and presents the “hottest” preview

Hot in terms of “heat” and “urgency”: in this difficult year, the territory rises tenaciously on the wave of new vintages of Albana and Sangiovese

“The “hottest” Romagna Wines Preview in history”: this is how the Vini di Romagna Consortium has defined the 2023 edition of “Vini ad Arte”, both in the vineyard and at the tasting venue, in full coherence with the current weather emergency, which has literally changed the connotations of the Romagna territory, with the floods and landslides of last May. But the region is reacting, and it is eager to tell the tale, taking a bold path, with a packed program of tastings and cultural visits, almost two months after the originally scheduled event, cadenced by two days of cellar tours, with the final tasting of 158 wines of Romagna Sangiovese (also in Superiore and Riserva versions) and Romagna Albana (both dry and passito versions) from the 62 wineries on stage in Faenza. “Hot”, then, also because it is urgent and heartfelt, important to draw attention to itself more than before, as the quality of the products and people of this area continues to increase and needs support, to cope with the obvious weather difficulties.
The path taken for the wines of Romagna remains the one begun a few years ago, of serious and in-depth research on the different pedo-climatic conformations of the territory, which has led over time to a subdivision into 16 sub-zones of the hillside belt (the one between the Via Emilia and the Apennines) by the Consorzio Vini di Romagna. And what has also led, likewise, to the rediscovery and valorization of minor indigenous grape varieties, such as Famoso (which has been granted DOC status in Oriolo), Centesimino or Longanesi. But two study factors joined the viticultural deepening of the sub-areas this year: the local one, of reaction of the Romagna soil (still in progress) to the recent extreme climatic adversity, which led, for example, to the sliding of the hilly land in more than 2,000 points and to the opening of Monte Brullo in Faenza for 8 meters; and the national factor, of a pathogenic pressure in the vineyard never seen before, which has invested almost everywhere in Italy and which has become difficult to counteract by any type of agronomic management. A very complex situation to manage, both in the short term - traceable to the vintage - and in the long term - traceable to the damage suffered and the climatic upheavals, which there have been and will be from now on.
Between hail and storms, flooding in the plains, landslides in the hills, and fungal and cryptogamic attacks, in short, the 2023 vintage figures among the most difficult for Emilia Romagna, yet the rainfall water has largely been reabsorbed by the soil, making it likely (as of today) that the harvest will be more abundant or average than in recent years. While waiting to find out what this year has in store for us, the overall production picture of the appellation updated to 2022 is as follows for the two grape varieties featured in the preview: the 6,235 hectares registered in Romagna Sangiovese produced 75,399 hectoliters, equivalent to 10.1 million bottles (further down from 10.9 million bottles in 2021, 11.5 million in 2020 and 12.4 million in 2019). Of these, 3,878 hectoliters were bottled mentioning the subzone (corresponding to 517,067 bottles): the subzones involve a lower yield in the vineyard and this partly explains the decrease in the quantities produced under the more generic Doc Romagna Sangiovese (which, on the other hand, have gradually increased for the subzones, precisely: 2. 916 hectoliters in 2021, 3,256 hectoliters in 2020 and 2,726 hectoliters in 2019) to which must be added the latest born subzones of Imola, Verrucchio, Coriano and San Clemente, which “steal” more land from the Doc without mention. For Romagna Albana, in 2022, the 818 registered hectares produced 7,171 hectoliters (corresponding to 956,133 bottles), steadily increasing from 2020 when there were 5,673 (compared to 6,867 in 2021), reaching even higher than the pre-Covid19 production of 6,544 hectoliters in 2019.
Looking at the remaining varietals in the appellation, there is evidence that the decision to enhance Romagna Trebbiano also through the sparkling hillside version (Romagna Spumante and Novebolle brand) seems to be bearing fruit: from the drop immediately after 2019 (when 12. 616 hectoliters, about 1.7 million bottles) with a production of 8,678 hectoliters in 2020, Trebbiano-based wines have gradually recovered to 8,837 hectoliters in 2021 and 9,692 hectoliters in 2022. At the same time, in fact, bottles claimed and Romagna Spumante increased from 353,333 in 2021 to 378,267 in 2022, remaining stable in terms of area planted with vines (14,170 hectares). On the other hand, all other Romagna Denominations showed a decrease on 2021 (Doc Romagna Pagadebit from 1,689 to 1,558 hectoliters; Doc Romagna Cagnina from 5,421 to 4,384 hectoliters; Doc Colli d’Imola from 2,421 to 1,680 hectoliters; Doc Colli di Faenza from 309 to 155 hectoliters; Rubicone Igt from 698. 486 to 657,158 hectoliters; Forlì Igt from 4,029 to 3,637 hectoliters; Sillaro Igt from 1,371 to 1,244 hectoliters), with the exception of Doc Colli di Romagna Centrale - from 219 to 243 hectoliters; Doc Rimini - from 2,538 to 2,751 hectoliters and Ravenna Igt - from 4,206 to 4,504 hectoliters.
Overall - according to oenologist Marisa Fontana, who presented the climatic trends for 2022 - production of 6 million hectoliters of the Denomination was, however, in line with 2021 (which had, on the other hand, seen a decline compared to 2020), despite the fact that 2022 experienced very high temperatures for long periods, little temperature range between day and night, and was the driest year since 1800. Indeed, if, on the one hand, the rain and temperature rise in May (preceded by a dry and warm winter that brought forward budding, then paused by a cool March and April) accelerated the speed of cluster growth (i.e., longer rachis and floral drop and interruption of fruit set) causing them to become sparse, on the other hand, the total absence of precipitation helped bring grapes to the winery with contained health problems throughout the season. Widespread precipitation in August provided relief for the vines and their fruit, which were harvested 6-8 days early for white grapes and 12-15 days early for Sangiovese (with ripeness all in all balanced between lignified pips, skin phenols, sugar content and acidity). Early grapes (Chardonnay, Pinot and Sauvignon) began harvesting before mid-August, followed by Pignoletto, Albana, Merlot, Cagnina, Famoso, Trebbiano, Sangiovese, Cabernet, and closing with Longanesi and Fortana.
The high temperatures affected the aromatic framework of the grapes, bringing out the sweet, even tropical fruit characteristics of the vines, at the expense of the more delicate floral notes. Structurally, too, the wines reflected the vintage: decidedly smoother tannins and a more pronounced glyceric roundness of the sip than in previous years. All in all, already enjoyable wines that handled the alcoholic strengths quite well, rarely burning or noticeable beyond measure. Good work done in the vineyard and in the cellar by the producers, whose best WineNews tastings at “Vini ad Arte 2023” we report below.

Focus - Our best tastings at “Vini ad Arte 2023” ...

Romagna Albana:

Assirelli, Romagna Albana Secco Albena 2022
Celli, Romagna Albana Secco I Croppi 2022
Giovanna Madonia, Romagna Albana Secco La Neblina 2022
Poderi Morini, Romagna Albana Secco Sette Note 2022
Tremonti, Romagna Albana Secco Vigna Rocca 2022
Fattoria del Monticino Rosso, Romagna Albana Secco Codronchio 2021
Tenuta La Viola, Romagna Albana Secco InTerra Bianco 2021
Giovannini, Romagna Albana Secco G.G.G. 2021
Tenute Tozzi, Romagna Albana Secco Tantalilli 2020
Fattoria Zerbina, Romagna Albana Passito AR 2018
Umberto Cesari, Romagna Albana Passito Colle del Re Passito 2014

Romagna Sangiovese:

Podere dal Nespoli, Romagna Sangiovese Predappio Gualdo 2022
Drei Donà, Romagna Sangiovese Predappio Notturno 2021
Noelia Ricci, Romagna Sangiovese Predappio Godenza 2021
Piccolo Brunelli, Romagna Sangiovese Predappio Cesco 1928 2021
Villa Papiano, Romagna Sangiovese Modigliana Papesse 2021
Tenuta Masselina, Romagna Sangiovese Superiore 138 2021
Poderi delle Rocche, Romagna Sangiovese Superiore Castellano 2020
Bissoni Raffaella, Romagna Sangiovese Bertinoro Vigna Colecchio Riserva 2019
Podere dell’Angelo, Romagna Sangiovese Superiore Luis Riserva 2019
Tenuta de Stefenelli, Romagna Sangiovese Bertinoro Armonia Riserva 2018

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