On our continuing quest to explore Italy and its renowned wine regions through our series on The Fine Art of Italian Wine, we move south to explore the wines of Central Italy, an area that embodies all the qualities we would consider quintessentially Italian. From the sun-drenched vineyards of Tuscany, to the lively coastal towns of Marche, Central Italy is a gourmand and wine lovers paradise, home to some of the world’s great cheeses, pastas and outstanding local viticulture. Join us as we share the classic wines of the seven-major Central Italy wine regions as well as classic food pairings that both define and bring flavor to each region. We recommend reading with a map in one hand and a glass of Chianti Classico in the other.
Classic Wines: Known for its diverse cuisine landscapes, this region is a wealth of historic towns, scattered between the Adriatic coastline and Apennines Mountains. Home to culinary destinations such as Bologna, Parma and Modena, this region is celebrated for it’s fantastic culinary offerings and rich cultural history, still tangible today as one wanders the walled cities, medieval fortresses and stone houses. The diversity of the soil and climate allows for an incredible cornucopia of viticulture.
This region has become known for its Lambrusco, a sparkling red wine, which unfortunately has produced a sea of poor-quality sparkling wines that have tarnished the region’s reputation. However there are producers are diligently breaking through the stigma. Albana di Romagna is Italy’s first white DOCG and while its quality can vary, the passito (a generic term meaning made from dried grapes) wines show great promise.
Colli Bolognesi Classico Pignoletto is the area’s second DOCG, producing dry, lively, crisp whites made from the Pignoletto grape, and Cleto Chiarli produces some stunning wines as well. Their “premium” bottling is well regarded and is the fabulous food wine. A visit to this picturesque winery, with its Old World charm and unmatched hospitality, is the perfect day trip; the area is very visitor friendly, dotted with many other wineries at which you can enjoy lunch or tastings.
The region also produces some good international varieties like Tenuta Palazza’s Magnificat Cabernet Sauvignon, which is top notch. A great way to get a thorough overview of this massive region’s offerings is to visit Enoteca Regionale Emilia-Romagna in Dozza. Here, you can sample most of the wines produced in the region—and in the basement of a medieval castle to boot.
Classic Pairings: Emilia-Romagna’s gastronomic feats are internationally